One of our most asked questions is ‘from what age can children ride in a cargo bike’. This is a question that does not have a black and white response as there are many factors at play.
In European countries where cargo biking is extremely popular, babies are carried home from hospital in a cargo bike. Unfortunately Australia’s strict helmet laws make this not possible (legally) in Australia, although we’ve seen some inventive solutions from parents who accept the risk and are willing to flout the laws.
Most parents feel that toddler age is a good time to get their kids started in a cargo bike. The child is beyond that fragile baby stage, can hold their head up nicely and have developed some core strength, plus they’re at that age where they become inquisitive and want to get out and about in the world!
Toddler seats get your kids in a cargo bike sooner
One disadvantage of a bench style seat, is that whilst your child may have the neck strength to wear a helmet, they’re still a little ‘wobbly’ if unsupported. This can be problematic when sitting on a bench seat that doesn’t support them from side to side. Whilst the included seat belt (and chest strap) goes some way to helping them stay upright, it shouldn’t be relied on.
Additionally, when young kids inevitably fall asleep due to the subtle bumps and vibrations by bike, you cringe as you see their necks twist and their heads bounce around without any head and neck support.
This is why we knew it was important to come up with a solution to safely carry younger kids by cargo bike.
Introducing the Toddler seat!
We searched long and hard for a solution to get younger kids safely enjoying cargo bike adventures. Pretty quickly we realised the answer was going to come from the cargo biking capital of the world, The Netherlands!
The Melia Toddler Seat for Children aged 7-18 months
Designed and made in The Netherlands, the Melia Toddler seat is purpose built for cargo bikes. Slimline enough to still allow a second child to sit on the bench, yet supportive enough for young children, the seat bolts to the cargo box and has an included 3 point safety harness.
The cover is made from a mesh polyester, keeping kids cool in summer and it can be removed and machine washed when banana inevitably gets mooshed into it. The shell is made out of the same foam used for bike helmets.
The seats also come with removable back and neck padding. This helps pad out the seats for smaller children and can be removed once they grow out of it.
The seats are designed for children aged 7-18 months. When you choose to get your child in one is up to you however. All occupants in a cargo bike must wear a helmet in Australia, so you should ensure your child has adequate neck strength to first wear a helmet before putting them in the toddler seat.
Helmets are the only safety device on a bike
Our toddler seats look very much like a scaled back version of the car seats you put your toddler in in a car. However, they won’t come with all the Australian standard labels that you’re used to seeing.
According to the Australian cycling regulations, helmets are the only approved safety device in bikes and of course are mandatory in Australia. As a result a toddler seat should just be considered something to help make your child more comfortable and not a safety device in themselves.
Available now in our store
Toddler seats are now available. They are priced at $319, however if purchased with a bike are available for $219. They come with a mounting kit for the Tribe Bike, which requires a hole to be drilled in the box.
We will happily fit your seat for you if you purchase it with your Tribe Bike, just choose when adding to cart where you would like the seat installed. We recommend it be installed on the left side of the bike to make access on roads easier. If installed on the rear bench your child will be facing forward but the under bench storage will become inaccessible whilst the seat is installed. If installed on the front bench your child will be facing you, which some younger children enjoy.