A bike ride is a leisurely and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon or summer evening, but a toddler or preschooler isn’t going to keep up with you. Rather than spending the whole ride trying to stay slow enough for her to keep up, but not tipping over at the same time, hook a trailer to your bike. This way you can ride at your own pace and still safely bring your little one along. Understanding the features of a bike trailer helps you choose the safest one for your child.
There’s a big difference in weight between a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old. This means it’s vital to take your child’s size into account when you look for a safe bike trailer. Most have a weight range that far exceeds what the average toddler or preschooler weighs, according to Consumer Reports. However, if your little one is bigger than other kids her age, or you plan to put two kids into the trailer, ignoring the weight limit could result in a broken trailer and a hurt kid.
An unrestrained child in a bike trailer is likely to slide around, bounce up and down or tip over. This isn’t fun for her and might turn your relaxing bike ride into a roller coaster ride that will keep her screaming until you stop. When buying a bike trailer, make sure it has a safety harness. It might look like the strap on your highchair or resemble the car seat restraint in the car. Either way, make sure you can safely restrain your toddler or preschooler while you ride so she stays safe and has fun. If you have two children, make sure there is a harness for each of them. Never try to cram them both into one.
Obviously, you have to attach the bike trailer to your bike before it’ll do you any good. Consumer Reports advocates trailers that have a hitching device that steadies the trailer in case you crash or hit a slippery patch on your bike trail. If you head out in the winter and ride over a slick spot or swerve to avoid hitting a stray dog, then tip and fall over, the device keeps the trailer upright and keeps your toddler or preschooler safe inside. She might not even know what happened, which is also good for your ego.
Safety Flag and Color
Bike trailers are designed to sit low to the ground, reducing the risk of injury to your little one. However, this can make it hard for cars and trucks to see it attached to your bike. A car might steer around you, but miss your cargo. For this reason, Consumer Reports recommends attaching a safety flag that measures 3-1/2 to 7 feet above the bike trailer. This makes it harder to miss. You might also opt to buy a bike trailer that is brightly colored so it’s more visible to motorists.