Note: I’m not a doctor. I’m just a fun dad that enjoys adventures with my kids. Please ride at your own risk or consult a pediatrician if needed.
Are you a cyclist itching to take your newborn out for a ride to experience the thrilling and healthy outdoors? Then this article will help you get started in the safest and quickest way possible.
After all, safety is often the first concern parents have when considering taking their most precious cargo (an infant!) around in a bike trailer, especially if they are under 1 year old.
I’ve been riding with my two kids in bike trailers since they were infants by using car seats or an infant insert, which are the two main ways to ride with a baby.
Here’s everything I’ve learned about how to do it safely and comfortably!
An infant can safely ride in a bike trailer under these circumstances:
- The infant is inside an infant insert or car seat while inside the bike trailer
- Traveling at low speeds under 10 mph (16 kph)
- Riding on smooth surfaces
Is it safe for an infant to ride in a bike trailer?
It is very common to find cyclists taking infants around in bike trailers in other countries, most notably in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe.
In the United States where I live, however, it is a slightly different story. It is universally recommended by bike trailer manufacturers to wait until the child is at least 1 year old.
According to some polls I’ve done in group forums (notably in the popular Facebook group by Rascal Rides), many people in the United States do use the car seat method to ride with an infant. In some cases, people prefer to use infant slings, which I’ll explain in more detail below.
But why is the the 1-year benchmark recommended?
The 1-year benchmark is recommended for a few reasons:
- Infants do not have strong stabilizing muscles to assist them during the ride
- The possibility of a crash might impact an infant negatively
- Infants are not able to properly wear a bicycle helmet
With these concerns in mind, biking with an infant can still be a very safe and healthy activity for both child and parent.
I wrote an in-depth article just about how safe bike trailers actually are. Check it out here.
By following the following 5 tips, putting a car seat in a bike trailer can be a very safe and fun way to get around.
How safe are bike trailers really?
Bike trailers offer a protective cage and harness seat belts that help protect a child in the event of a crash. In comparison to alternative options, such as bike-mounted child seats, bike trailers are the safest way to ride together with a child.
By following some basic safety tips and your own common sense, bike trailers can be much safer than alternative options, such as bike-mounted child seats.
I wrote an in-depth article on the safety and risk factors of bike trailers, which you can check out here.
What happens if I crash or my bike falls over?
One benefit of using a bike trailer is that if your bike falls over or you crash your bike, the incident will most likely have very little impact on the child.
Bike trailers attach to the bike using a flexible connection system that allows the bike to fall over without bringing down the bike trailer.
In the unlikely scenario that the bike trailer does roll over, trailers are designed with a canopy-like cage that protects the passengers from coming in contact with the ground.
Below we will outline four ways to make biking with your infant even safer.
How to safely ride with an infant in a bike trailer
Here are four tips to safely ride with an infant:
1. Place your infant in a car seat or infant insert while inside the bike trailer
It is recommended to place your baby in a car seat or infant insert while inside the bike trailer. By doing so, you will ensure safety standards designed for the car industry while also keeping your child comfortable (don’t be surprised if he/she falls asleep every time you ride!).
A car seat can be inserted into the bike trailer, facing forward, and strapped to the bike trailer using a belt or cord.
2. Travel at low speeds under 10 mph (16 kph)
Regardless of the age of your child, it is always recommended to keep speeds under 10 mph (or 16 kph) to reduce the risk of losing control and causing an uncomfortably bumpy ride.
(Good luck going any faster than that anyway 🙂).
Kidding aside, riding at lower speeds will give you more control over steering the trailer and also braking when needed. In addition, riding fast may cause more bumping up and down for your baby, especially on rough terrain.
3. Ride on smooth surfaces
Riding on a smooth surface without much gravel will give you better control over steering your bike and the bike trailer. Smooth surfaces also help with reducing the risk of throwing the baby around.
4. Use flashing lights and a flag
One of the potential dangers of biking in general is cars and other riders not seeing you. This is even more important when riding with a child, because bike trailers are closer to the ground and a driver might not see it.
It is always good practice to ride with flashing lights on your bike, as well as on the bike trailer (even during the day). The other recommendation to ensure visibility is to mount a flag to the trailer that will put the trailer in the eye line of drivers. Most bike trailers come with flags to help with visibility.
All in all, if you follow these four simple recommendations, then riding in a bike trailer is arguably safer than riding in a car because of the slow speed and added control.
Top 5 bike trailers for infants
We recommend getting a spacious bike trailer that will fit a car seat. Depending on your budget and whether or not you need a two-seater bike trailer, here are a few excellent bike trailers that all have spacious interiors.
Tip: Since your child will be growing over the years, we recommend going with a bike trailer that also converts into a stroller. Convertible bike trailers make excellent strollers due to their large wheels and smooth ride.
|1. Schwinn Joyrider||$350 (check on Amazon)||Double||Yes||– Affordable|
– Protective cage
– Stroller conversion
– Heavy (40 lbs)
|2. Burley Bee||$300 (check on Amazon)||Double||No||– Affordable|
– Burley quality and design
– Lightweight (20 lbs)
|– No stroller conversion|
|3. Burley D’Lite X||$750 for Single (check on Amazon), $850 for Double (check on Amazon)||Single or Double||Yes||– Stroller conversion|
– Comfortable seats
– Folding up is not easy
– Seats do not recline much
|4. Thule Chariot Lite||$1,000 for Double (check on Amazon) and $900 for Single (check on Amazon)||Double or Single||Yes||– Highest-quality materials|
– Double front wheels
– Lots of storage
– Complicated to assemble
|5. Schwinn Echo||$250 (check on Amazon)||Double||No||– Comfortable wide seat with a center harness|
– Large 20-inch wheels
– High-visibility cover
|– Plastic mesh cover|
– No stroller conversion
1. Schwinn Joyrider
Best value bike trailer for infants
Price: Around $360 (check on Amazon)
Stroller Conversion: Yes
Weight Limit: 100 lbs (43 kg)
The Schwinn Joyrider is a steal of a deal at only around $350 for a double-seated trailer that converts seamlessly to an excellent stroller. It has high-end features, such as stroller conversion out of the box, a solid protective cage, large 20-inch wheels for extra smoothness, and large interior space. You get all of that without breaking the bank at just around $350!
I personally have been using the Joyrider the longest out of all the trailers we have, and I still stand by it as the best bang-for-buck bike trailer on the market!
Note: The Amazon description page mistakenly labels this trailer as a “1 Seat” trailer, but that is incorrect. It is in fact a “2 Seat” trailer.
- Affordable—A low price point for high-quality features
- Protective cage—Added peace of mind
- Stroller conversion—Converts seamlessly to a comfortable stroller
- Wide—The frame is slightly wider than average double-seat trailers
- Heavy—On the heavier side of trailers weights (40 lbs)
2. Burley Bee
Best minimalist bike trailer for infants
Price: Around $300 (check on Amazon)
Stroller Conversion: No
Weight Limit: 80 lbs (36 kg)
The Burley Bee is a well-designed, high-quality, lightweight, and budget-friendly bike trailer for frequent riders.
With the reputable Burley brand and high-quality materials, the Burley Bee is one of the best bang-for-buck trailers for anyone looking for a trailer that is just really good at being a trailer.
- Affordable—A low price point for a high-quality Burley trailer
- Burley quality—A high-quality trailer that might turn into a robot
- Lightweight—Weighs just 20 lbs, which is half the weight of some trailers
- No stroller conversion—It’s a minimalist, lightweight trailer
3. Burley D’Lite X
Best 2-in-1 bike trailer & stroller for infants
The Burley D’Lite X is a high-end bike trailer designed for all types of riding. From gravel riding to mountain riding to strolling, this trailer can do it all.
You can tell that Burley put a lot of thought into the comfort of this bike trailer, from the incredibly comfortable seat to the rare suspension for added comfort.
Both the single and double versions of the D’Lite X come with a sturdy bench-style seat that has an excellent five-point harness and headrest. It is rather rare to find a seat of this quality and comfort.
The D’Lite X seats also recline, which is a notable feature not found on cheaper trailers. However, the seats do not recline very far, so it’s a bit unfortunate.
Suspension for added comfort
Not many bike trailers come equipped with suspension. If you plan to do any type of gravel or mountain riding with your bike trailer, then a trailer with suspension is highly recommended. The suspension is located under the wheels to add comfort when riding over rough terrains.
- Stroller conversion—an excellent stroller with large wheels
- Comfortable seats—for added comfort
- Suspension—for an extra smooth ride
- Pricey—a high-end trailer
- Folding up is not easy—expected on a non-stroller trailer
- Seats do not recline much—a nice feature to have, but the seats do not go very far back
4. Thule Chariot Lite
Best overall bike trailer for infants
Best for active families who want the most out of their bike trailer, the Thule Chariot Lite is a top-of-the-line quality trailer that is worth every penny. Its large wheels and suspension feature make it a great option for gravel riding or mountain riding.
Although on the higher end of the price spectrum, the Chariot Lite is actually a few hundred dollars cheaper than its older brother, the Thule Chariot Cross. For that reason, the Chariot Lite makes the list of exceptional trailers and I would recommend it to someone looking for a trailer that can take a beating.
But why would anyone swing for such a pricey bike trailer?
The Chariot Lite comes with suspension, which adds extra comfort to your child on rough terrain. If you plan on any gravel or mountain rides, then this trailer is ideal for your type of riding.
But if you’re just planning on recreational riding, then the Schwinn Joyrider does many of the same things for more than half the price.
- Highest-quality materials—Truly the best components on the market
- Suspension—Added comfort on rough terrain
- Double front wheels—Makes for an excellent stroller
- Lots of storage—It even comes with a pannier bag attached to the back
- Cost—It’s a top-of-the-line bike trailer and has suspension
- Complicated to assemble—It comes with a lot of attachments that are hard to understand at first
5. Schwinn Echo
Best budget bike trailer for infants
Price: Around $250 (check on Amazon)
Stroller Conversion: No
Weight Limit: 80 lbs (36 kg)
Schwinn really got creative with this one. The Echo is a double-seater with large 20-inch wheels for an extra smooth ride and a high-visibility yellow mesh cover.
If you’re looking for a minimalist bike trailer that gets the job done well, then the Echo is an excellent choice.
There’s one thing that really stands out to me that the average person probably won’t consider: it has three seat harnesses!
Why is that important? Well, it’s not to hold three children, but rather to allow for a child to sit in the middle of the trailer when riding alone. This allows the child to comfortably sit in the center without awkwardly sliding to one side or the other. It also comes with a sturdy bench-style seat, which is more comfortable for kids than a hammock-style seat.
Nice touch, Schwinn.
The Schwinn Echo is a steal of a deal for the extra features that you get. You can check the current price and availability on Amazon here.
- Comfortable—wide seat with a center harness
- Large 20-inch wheels—20 inches is the gold standard
- High-visibility cover—an excellent color for added visibility
- Plastic mesh cover—not ideal for getting in and out of the trailer
- No stroller conversion—It’s a minimalist, lightweight trailer
Infant insert options
Some bike trailer manufactures make inserts that are specifically designed for bike trailers. Here are three you can check out:
Burley Design Baby Snuggler
This infant insert will be compatible with most bike trailers that use a harness system. You can get it from Amazon and see if it works for your bike trailer, then return it if it isn’t compatible.
Thule Chariot Infant Sling
This infant insert by Thule is only compatible with Thule bike †railers. It costs about $100, but it is an excellent infant sling.
Should an infant wear a bike helmet?
It is not recommended that an infant wears a helmet. Helmets add additional weight to the baby’s neck that they cannot yet support themselves.
In addition, a helmet would place the infant’s head in an uncomfortable forward position in the bike trailer, which could lead to pain or other growth problems. This is why it is actually very hard to find an infant helmet on the market.
I wrote an entire article on helmets in bike trailer, which you can find here.
How old is too old to ride in a bike trailer?
On the other side of the spectrum, if you’ve been riding with your kid for a while and they’re about too big to fit in the trailer, then good on you!
The great thing about a bike trailer is that it is an investment that will last you for years to come.
Typically, a child becomes too big for a bike trailer when he/she turns around 6 years old, or they become too tall for the bike trailer, or they surpass the weight limit issued by the company (around 40-80 pounds usually). Every kid grows differently, so it’s good to check your bike trailer’s weight limit.
Be sure to read my in-depth article on the age of children in bike trailers.
While following basic bicycle safety recommendations, biking with an infant in a bike trailer is a very safe and healthy way to get around. Weighing the health benefits against any possible dangers will help you make the best decision for your growing family.
Need help finding the right bike trailer?
If you need help finding the right bike trailer for you, my recommended trailer for most people is the Swhinn Joyrider, which is an affordable double-seater that converts beautifully to a stroller. Check out my full review with photos here.
Check out the Ultimate Guide to Buying a Bike Trailer for more help with choosing a trailer. I also have compiled a list of the top bike trailers for every common situation, which you can check out here.