Child Safety: Bicycles and Tricycles

Overview

If you are biking with a baby or young child, the following suggestions can help you minimize the risk of injury:

  • Don't put your child in a bike seat before they are ready.

    Children younger than 1 year should not ride in any type of seat mounted on your bicycle. Before sitting in a rear-mounted seat, your child must sit well without support and be able to wear a lightweight helmet. These types of child carriers must:

    • Attach securely over the rear wheel.
    • Have spoke guards so your child's hands and feet will not get caught in the wheels.
    • Have a secure shoulder harness, lap belt, and a high back. A child should be able to fall asleep and be well supported.
  • Put a helmet on your child even when they are in a bike trailer.

    If you are using a trailer seat, always have your child wear a lightweight infant bike helmet.

  • Be careful where you ride.

    Do not ride with your child on busy streets, even where there is a bike lane. Try to ride in bicycle-only areas, such as recreational paths.

  • Do not ride with your child during bad weather.
  • Never carry infants in backpacks or front packs on a bike.

Riding tricycles safely

Help make riding tricycles safer by following these tips.

  • Don't put your child on a tricycle until they are ready.

    A child doesn't have the basic coordination to ride it safely until about age 3.

  • Make sure the tricycle that you try is solidly constructed and the right size for your child. (Your child should be able to pedal while sitting squarely on the seat.)
  • Watch your child closely while they ride.

    Do not allow your child to ride in areas that are close to cars, swimming pools, or other hazards.

  • Have your child wear a bike helmet every time they ride.

Credits

Current as of: September 20, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

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