Child Safety: Bicycles and Tricycles - Topic Overview
Many parents who ride bikes like to include their young children.
Riding tricycles is also a fun outdoor activity for preschoolers age 3 and
older. To avoid injury from these activities, consider the following safety
measures to protect your children.
Biking and using bicycle carriers and trailers
A baby or young child in a carrier that is attached to an adult's
bike is at risk for serious injury, even when you use all the latest safety
equipment. Uneven road surfaces, cars and other vehicles, or unanticipated
problems can endanger your child. It is best to wait to bike with children
until they have the balance and coordination to ride along with you on their
own bicycles. Usually, this is around ages 4 to 7.1 Do not
allow children to ride in the street until they are 10 years old, are skilled
riders, and consistently observe the basic rules of the road.2
In certain circumstances, biking with a child trailer has fewer
risks. If you are really set on biking with a baby or young child, the
following suggestions can help you minimize the risk of injury:
- 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
- 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
- If you are using a trailer seat for your child,
always have him or her wear a lightweight infant bike helmet.
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
- Do not ride with your child during bad weather.
- Never carry infants in backpacks or front packs on a bike.
Tricycles and similar three-wheeled toys provide exercise and
entertainment for many children. Keep this activity fun and safe by following
- Don't buy a tricycle until your child has the
basic coordination to ride it appropriately. Usually, this is around age
- Make sure the tricycle that you buy is solidly constructed and
the right size for your child (he or she can pedal while sitting squarely on
- Watch your child closely while he or she rides. Do not
allow your child to ride in areas that are close to cars, swimming pools, or
- Have your child wear a bike helmet every time he or she rides.