Carrying Your Kid on A Bike: Safety Tips
If you are an active parent, you know the difficulties that can arise from wanting to continue exercising with your baby. It is not always an option to leave your child with someone, but taking your child with you is also not always easy either! If you enjoy running, taking your child with you in a stroller is an option, but for many parents, you want to have more options. In particular, biking is a popular way for many parents to get exercise or to travel, for those who live in larger cities.
It is absolutely possible to take your child with you on your bike! However, there are plenty of precautions that you need to take. Just like you make sure your child is safe in their car seat, you need to make sure they are just as safe in their bike seat. If you want to start biking with your child, here are our top safety tips to keep in mind.
Wait Until Your Baby is Old Enough
This is one of the biggest questions that parents ask when considering biking with their child. How young is too young? While there is not as much research and data on this concept (as opposed to the abundance of data on children riding in cars), it is safe to say that waiting until your child is around 1 years old is appropriate. The younger your child is, the more likely they are to be injured, their bones are not fully developed and formed, and they cannot sit up by themselves. By the age of one, they should be sitting and supporting themselves on their own, and physically they will be more developed than a newborn.
Also keep in mind that how you feel about things matters too. If at the age of one you still do not feel comfortable riding with your child, don’t. Your child needs to be comfortable, but so do you. If you are worried or doubting yourself, go ahead and wait until you feel more secure. Until then, you can always go walking or jogging with your child in a stroller.
Consider Your Path
This is another main reason why waiting until your child is at least 1 years old is important. If you are biking on bumpy terrain, your child is going to be bouncing around a lot. This bouncing can be seriously damaging to a baby’s developing brain. The first year of a child’s life is crucial for brain development, and exposing them to heavy bouncing and jostling can be very dangerous. Therefore, make sure that the path you wish to ride is smooth. While there is no way to 100% guarantee that the entire path will be entirely smooth, try your best to pick paved paths that allow for smooth riding. Also, be on the lookout as your ride for any road hazards that could cause a big bump, or even worse, cause you to tip over. Riding along a rocky hiking trail, for example, is not a very good idea with a young child. Wait until they are much older before taking them on such an adventure on a bike.
Invest in Reflective Clothing/Gear
If you are thinking about riding your bike in the evening or at night, it is crucial that you invest in reflective gear for yourself, your child, and your bike. Riding in the dark can be incredibly dangerous if cars or even other bikers cannot see you easily. Avoid the risk of this happening by wearing reflective clothing and placing lights or blinkers on your bike as well.
Again, keep in mind that if you are not comfortable with doing this, you should refrain. If biking at night makes you nervous, only bike during the day! This might make it more difficult with your schedule, maybe you will only be able to ride during weekends, but safety is always much more important than convenience. There are plenty of items you can use to be more visible during dark hours, but if you are still feeling unsafe, don’t force yourself.
Use Designated Bike Paths
Bike lanes are only continuing to grow in popularity, and you should absolutely use them when biking on the road. These lanes give you enough space to safely ride alongside of cars, and without them, you should seriously consider biking in another location. There are also plenty of bike paths you can find that are not on roads if you feel more comfortable that way. These paths are typically wider than a typical walking or jogging path, and should be paved and smooth to ensure a nice ride. Bike lanes keep you safe, and also signal to drivers to pay extra attention to the road. For these reasons, it is much safer to bike using these lanes.
Timing is Everything
Finally, timing can be very important when biking with your child. For example, even if you have nice bike lanes along the roads near your house, it is smarter to avoid biking during peak traffic times. More cars on the road simply equate to a greater possibility of an accident happening. Instead, try to pick low traffic times to go for a ride. This will keep you safe, and also make you feel much more at ease while out on the road. You should enjoy riding with your child, so by taking these simple precautions you will be much more likely to actually have a good time.
If you follow these bike safety tips, you will be well on your way to having a fun time bonding with your child while getting some exercise. Stay safe, and, of course, have fun!