Safety

American Academy of Pediatrics

Safe Bicycling Starts Early

Print, Share, or View Spanish version of this article

A young passenger on an adult’s bike makes the bike unstable and increases the braking time. A mishap at any speed easily attained during casual riding could cause significant injury to the child. Following these guidelines decreases, but does not eliminate, the risk of injury.

  • Preferably, children should ride in a bicycle-towed child trailer.

  • Only adult cyclists should carry young passengers.

  • Preferably ride with passengers in parks, on bike paths, or on quiet streets. Avoid busy thoroughfares and bad weather, and ride with caution and at a reduced speed.

  • Infants younger than 12 months are too young to sit in a rear bike seat and too young to wear a helmet. They should not be carried on a bicycle. Do not carry infants in backpacks or front packs on a bike.

  • Children who are old enough (12 months-4 years) to sit well unsupported and whose necks are strong enough to support a lightweight helmet may be carried in a child-trailer or rear-mounted seat.

  • A rear-mounted seat must

    • Be securely attached over the rear wheel.

    • Have spoke guards to prevent feet and hands from being caught in the wheels.

    • Have a high back and a sturdy shoulder harness and lap belt that will support a sleeping child.

  • A lightweight infant bike helmet should always be worn by a young passenger to prevent or minimize head injury. Small Styrofoam helmets that meet US Consumer Product Safety Commission standards are available.

  • The child must be strapped into the bike seat with a sturdy harness.

  • Remember, the risk of serious injury still exists when you carry a young child on your bicycle.

Patient education handouts from TIPP—The Injury Prevention Program help pediatricians implement injury prevention counseling for parents of children newborn through 12 years of age.

The information in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

© 2020 American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved.

Is Your Child Sick?TM

News & Announcements

  • 1/25/2020