Monday, April 22, 2024

Can You Put a Child Seat on an Electric Bike? (Explained)

Now that parents and grandparents are discovering the ease of riding an electric bike, it’s not surprising that they want to bring a child or grandchild along who is too young to ride a bike.

Thankfully, there are ways of putting a child on an e-bike so that no one misses out!

In general, putting a child’s seat on an electric bike is something most parents and grandparents can do easily. Most seats can hold kids up to 50 lbs (typically ages 1-4). However, some can handle children up to 75 lbs. Babies under six months of age should not ride on an e-bike at all.

However, to use a child seat safely requires understanding the precautions you need to take on an electric bike, as well as the age of the child. Although some of these concerns are the same as for a traditional bike, e-bikes add another layer of concern, which I discuss below.

Continue reading to check out the child seat comparison chart below. Child seats were chosen based on my research and customer ratings of each. It’ll help you choose what type of child seat you need for your child given their age and ability, as well as safety and other concerns.

Is It Safe to Carry a Child On an Electric Bike?

It’s generally safe to ride with a child on an e-bike as long as you take certain precautions. Although some of the concerns are the same as when riding a regular bicycle, there are additional ones to consider when riding on an e-bike with a child in a child seat. These include:

  • The added weight of an electric bike
  • The ability to go much faster than on a regular bike
  • Keeping all electrical components away from your child
  • Greater loss of battery charge due to added weight
  • Protecting your child from weather and wind (due to longer rides and faster speeds)

Since electric bikes generally weigh more, it’s extra important to practice getting on and off the bike with a fake “load” before putting a child on it. That’ll help you get a feel for how to balance on your bike. Losing balance could mean having the e-bike fall over, putting your child at risk for injury when they fall up to 3 feet to the ground.

Further, never leave the child unattended on the electric bike, even if strapped into the child’s seat. If they shift seat positions or try to get off, they could topple the bike.

Have a system for getting the child on the e-bike, especially since it’s likely heavier than a standard bike. this might include having someone hold the bike while you put the child in the seat (and take them off). Or you can use a double-sided kickstand to balance the bike.

Make sure your child is strapped in tightly using the harness system that comes with the bike seat, even if you think they’re old enough to stay in the seat. A dog could pique their interest or they could fall asleep, thus shifting their weight to one side and causing them to fall off. And, on an e-bike, you don’t want them to be able to reach any electrical parts.

Finally, it’s easy to get carried away on an electric bike and end up riding for hours. This could be a problem if your battery loses its charge (which may happen more quickly due to the added weight of a child and the child seat).

Also, don’t forget that any age kid is exposed to the sun and weather. The wind at higher speeds can be brutal! Make sure to apply and reapply sunscreen as well as dress them for the weather (layering is always a good idea).

Are electric bikes safe for you and your kids? Learn more…

White Step-Thru Lectric XP 3.0
The Lectric XP 3.0 is one model that can carry a child seat on the rear rack.

Can You Put a Baby on an Electric Bike?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it’s not recommended to put a baby in a child seat on any bike if they’re under 1 year of age or weigh less than 40 lbs. Babies must be able to sit up on their own, unsupported, and have the strength in their necks to hold up their heads independently.

Once they can do so, they can wear a lightweight helmet and securely ride in a rear-mounted seat or a child trailer. To be secure, child seats should have a sturdy harness that goes over the shoulders and a high back to fully support the baby.

Not surprisingly, the Academy also states that only an adult should carry a baby on their bike (don’t let your teenage rider do it). And, I’ll add that you should always make sure their eyes and faces are protected from the sun and wind, that you ride slowly, and that you avoid busy streets!

You should also follow this advice if you will carry a toddler on a bike. A toddler might not be able to tell you what they need or whether they’re uncomfortable.

A family riding bikes together with small children in child seats that attach to bike

What Kind of Child Seat Do I Need for an E-Bike?

First of all, deciding what kind of seat you need depends on the bike. With the increasing popularity of e-bikes, there are many models to choose from that carry a child. Typically, cargo e-bikes already have a rear rack to attach a child seat.

If you haven’t already purchased an e-bike, buying a cargo (or sometimes called “urban”) model that’s already fully equipped to add on a seat is a simple solution.

However, you can also add a rack to your current e-bike which allows a child’s seat to be added. Because e-bikes generally have stronger frames than standard bikes, there’s a good chance that adding the weight of the seat plus your kid’s weight won’t be a problem.

But you should check with the manufacturer first to make sure your model can safely handle a rack and a child’s seat.

Most child seats are attached to the rear of an e-bike, while a few are mounted on the front. Although this is similar to any bike, the placement of the child seat on an electric bike may be further determined by the location of the battery and other electronics.

When buying a child seat to put on your e-bike, you’ll primarily be looking at two options, the rear seat (most common) and a front seat (less common).

Rear Child Seats

These are the most common types of bike seats for small kids and toddlers. This is because they fit on most e-bikes and are better at accommodating your child’s size and weight than a front-mounted seat.

Further, there are so many electric bikes that come with a rear rack ready to attach a child seat. In fact, if you’re buying a new cargo bike, the same company likely has a seat that works perfectly with your model.

Looking for a new e-bike to hold a child seat? Here are the best e-bike companies in the USA.

little girl riding in rear bike seat
A child riding in a rear bike seat

When purchasing a rear child seat you should look for

  • a high back that supports the head
  • cushioning around the neck and head
  • washable, padded lining
  • a 3 or 5-point harness with a childproof safety buckle
  • a reclining backrest for napping (and then you get a longer ride!)
  • adjustable footrests
  • ventilation throughout the seat
  • one that leaves space for additional cargo on the back, if possible

Front Mounted Child Seat

Although this option is far less common than a rear seat, some parents really like it. For one, it keeps your small child close to you, allowing more interaction. You can easily talk to your child about what you see and check on them to make sure they’re comfortable… without turning around or yelling. Your child may also be happier being close to you.

A front seat is also a bit smaller and lighter, which can be a benefit while riding and traveling.

Toddler riding in front bike seat with mom.
A child riding in a front bike seat

However, there are some downsides to a front seat, which is why this option is less popular:

  • you might not have this as an option if the location of the battery or other electronic parts interferes with the seat’s attachment. So consider this before buying a new e-bike if you’ll want to use a front seat.
  • it may only be useful up to 35 lbs (and remember, the AAP doesn’t even recommend putting your child in a seat until one year of age or 40 lbs).
  • you should be a strong rider and comfortable carrying your child upfront… there’s a greater tip-over risk and a head-on crash would clearly be more dangerous
  • it may be harder to steer with the child in front
  • your knees may hit the seat as you ride
  • more difficult to put on due to 3 different possible mounting locations: Frame, seat post, handlebars

Additional Options to Take a Child With You When You Ride Your E-Bike

Trailer– Many parents and grandparents opt for a trailer that attaches to the rear of an e-bike. A trailer is great for kids ages 1 to 6 and up to 40 lbs, although you can also get a double trailer, and some convert into strollers.

This is a comfortable way to ride but has its downfalls. Because the kids sit low to the ground and behind you, it’ll be harder to have a conversation. Also, they’re closer to car exhaust and aren’t as visible, so I wouldn’t recommend using these in traffic. But, they are popular on bike paths!

Trailer bike– A trailer bike will attach to the bike’s seat post or a rear rack. This can be a good option for a child who wants more independence and to be on a “big kid’s” bike. A child will be able to pedal but still counts on you for balance and to control the bike in general.

A good age for allowing a child to ride a trailer bike on a traditional bike may be about 4 years of age. But on an e-bike, I’m thinking they should be a bit older and able to handle the sudden changes in speed. Of course, as a parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure you are riding at a slow, even pace that your child can manage. I’d consider turning off the motor entirely.

Their own bike– Of course, if they’re old enough to ride a bike on their own, around 6 and up, then they’ll absolutely love the independence! They’ll be really slow initially, so you won’t get much use for your electric bike while riding with them.

However, when they’re capable of riding a regular bike, you can even consider getting your older teens their own electric bike.

I’ve written a guide for parents to learn more about e-bikes for independent children:

Read the #1 Parents’ Guide to E-Bikes for their Kids!

Best Child Seats for Electric Bikes

The best child seats for an e-bike have a 3 or 5-point harness for safety. All of the models I’ve included here have one PLUS a 4+ Star customer rating.

Child SeatRecommended AgeMax WeightMountingPrice
Thule Yepp Mini9 months-3 yearsup to 33lbsFront$159
Peg Perego OrionMinimum 12 monthsup to 33lbsFront$80
Tyke ToterMinimum 2 yearsup to 45lbsFront$119
Thule Yepp Maxi9 months-6 yearsup to 40lbsRear$250
Hamax CaressMinimum 9 monthsup to 48.5lbsRear$199
Schwinn DeluxeMinimum 12 monthsup to 40lbsRear$130
Top Rated Child Seats

Best Child Helmets

Every child of the recommended age (12 months and up) should wear a safety helmet. It’s usually the law in many places, although why would any parent or grandparent not want to protect their little one’s head?!

Plus, wearing a helmet now will make it a lifelong habit (even when they’re of the age when it’s no longer legally required). You can be a good role model and wear your own helmet, no matter what your age.

I’ve found the best helmets for small children ages 1-3, which are much harder to find than for older kids. These were also the most popular with thousands of 5-star ratings!

Akaso Adjustable 1 year – 8 years$20
Joovy Noodle Helmet Extra SmallMinimum 1 year$35
Ouwoer Adjustable Bike HelmetMinimum 2 years$38
Schwinn 3D Character Features, Infant-Toddler1 year- 3 years$21

Here’s the Schwinn 3D Characters helmet (many other characters to choose from):

What’s the Best E-Bike for Carrying a Child?

As mentioned above, there are many electric bike models made for carrying kids. They have sturdy rear racks ready to attach a bike seat. And, many manufacturers have recommendations for the type of seat for the e-bike you’re purchasing.

Not sure what type of e-bike you need? Here’s the complete guide!

The best cargo e-bike I’ve found that will easily allow a seat to be added as well as carry your older child on the back is the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon.

Get this… you can carry two (2) kids in child seats on the back! For parents of 2 small children (or fathers/mothers of multiples like myself), this is a game-changer! You can load a bunch of other stuff on the front, back, and sides of the ebike as well. You’ve got to take a look to believe it.

Thankfully, it’s reasonably priced at $1999. With its 350-pound load capacity and ability to put two child seats on it (plus add other cargo), it’s perfect for fun and errands with the family. Plus, it looks really cool (it comes in white or bright orange)!

Black Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4
Rad Power Bikes RadWagon holds up to 2 child seats on the back!

In Conclusion

Children love riding on bikes, even if they’re not yet able to do the pedaling. And thanks to sturdy e-bikes that allow adding a child seat, tiny tots can participate in the family ride.

It’s great to know that you can safely put child seats on an electric bike. However, just make sure your child is old enough to sit in a bike seat. And make sure you get the right e-bike with the best child seat for your situation.



Related articles

Can You Ride An Electric Bike Without A License? (Explained)

Electric bikes may still be classified as "motor vehicles"...

Is It Safe to Hang an Electric Bike for Storage?

Hanging an electric bike is dangerous due to the...