Bike Trailers and Bike Carriers

Updated April 18th, 2019

A bike carrier is a special seat that mounts on the frame of your bike.

A bike trailer is pulled behind your bike.

If you are trying to decide between a bike carrier and a bike trailer here are some things to consider:

  • A bike trailer is safer than a bike carrier because it won’t tip over if the bike falls.
  • Bike carriers are less expensive than bike trailers and require less storage space.
  • A child in a carrier can fall if the bicycle tips over, the seat becomes detached or the child is not properly fastened in the seat. A child falling from an adult bike would fall about 1 metre (3 feet) which could result in serious injuries.

Hot parent tip:

Bike trailers are recommended for children between 1 – 6 years of age. While they tend to cost more than bike carriers, many models can also be used as strollers and some can carry two children.

Bike Trailers

What to look for in a bike trailer:
  • Rollover type hitch so trailer won’t tip if bike tips
  • Adapts for children of different sizes
  • Roll bars so sides won’t collapse if trailer tips
  • Enough headroom to accommodate a helmet
  • Five point harness
  • Sunshade and mesh screen front flap to protect from sun, bugs, pebbles and debris
  • Bright reflective material
  • Flag


  • Follow manufacturer’s age recommendations and instructions
  • You and your child should wear a certified bike helmet that fits properly and is fastened correctly.
  • Learn to be a confident cyclist. Take a bike safety course and get plenty of practice.
  • Practice towing the bike trailer before taking your child out for a ride.
  • Drive on bike paths and low traffic areas.
  • Make wide turns to accommodate the trailer.
  • Mount a bright orange flag on back of the trailer so motorists will see that you are towing trailer.
  • Use the harness or safety strap to fasten your child into the trailer.
  • Use the cover or screen to protect your child from road dirt and debris.
  • Don’t let the child eat in the trailer while you are cycling. This is so your child doesn’t choke.

Bike Carriers (Bicycle seats)

What to look for in a bike carrier:
  • Foot wells or spoke guards to protect feet and ankles from the spokes
  • Safety belt or harness
  • Reflectors
  • One that mounts behind the bike seat


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child be at least 1 year of age before riding in a bike carrier.

  • Follow bike carriers manufacturer’s age recommendations and instructions.
  • Parent and child should always wear a properly fitted and fastened certified bike helmet.
  • Learn to be a confident cyclist. Take a bike safety course and get plenty of practice.
  • Never leave your child unattended in bike carrier.
  • Child should wear close fitting clothing and not have blankets, drawstrings or toys which could get caught in the spokes or gears.
  • Drive on smooth bike paths and low traffic streets.


Baby on Board: Keeping Safe on a Bike– American Academy of Pediatrics

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