The best rear bike seats for toddlers and small children 2022
A rear bike seat is a great way to get cycling with your young child as they're designed to carry toddlers from about 12 months to 3 years or over.
There are three main price and quality bandings for children's rear bike seats - we've banded them into Premium (over £75), Mid-range (£50-£75) and Budget (under £50).
Your budget and what you need the seat for will help determine which one you go for.
Fixing a rear child seat to a bike
There are two ways of fitting a rear child seat to your bike - frame-mounted or rack-mounted.
Many of the seats available have different models for different fixing methods, so do make sure you're buying the correct one for your needs.
Frame-mounted rear seats fit most bike types, and are therefore more commonly found. However, be particularly vigilant if you have a carbon bike as it may not be suitable.
For rack-mounted seats you need to make sure your bike is able to take a rear rack if you don't already have one fitted. You'll need to have the appropriate eyelets on your bike frame for this - not all bikes have these, so check before you buy your seat.
Not quite sure if a rear seat is for you? Why not rent first?
If you're based in the UK and wondering if a rear seat is correct for your family, then you can now rent a frame-mounted rear seat from Kids Trailer Hire for between 1 week and 8 weeks.
They have a selection of different frame-mounted seats from reputable brands and this is a good way to either try before you buy, or to use during a holiday.Hire
Best rear bike seats for carrying toddlers
Here we take a look at some of the best rear bike seats available, and where to buy them. We've included where to buy new and secondhand as we know children grow so quickly at this age so you can often get lightly used models at a great price.
Premium rear bike seats
These rear bike seats are at the premium end of the bike seat range, meaning they're made to be extra comfortable for your child to sit (and sleep!) in, and easy for you to fit. They're built for everyday usage, so ideal for daily commuting or long adventure trips.
The Thule Yepp Maxi is an award-winning children's rear bike seat that is now widely available in the UK. The range of colours and accessories make the Thule Yepp Maxi a popular choice for both parents and children.
The Thule Yepp Maxi bike seat is made from the same rubber-like material (EVA) that is used to make Crocs shoes, which is antibacterial, shock-absorbent, water-resistant, and really easy to clean, which means they are designed for daily use, year-round.
There are no seat cushions to worry about keeping dry from the elements.
The 5-point safety harness has a childproof buckle and soft shoulder pads to help avoid rubbing. There are two height levels for the shoulder straps which allow the seat to grow with your child.
There are two models of Yepp Maxi available. One is the Easyfit and secures to a luggage rack on the back of the bike.
The second type is mounted on your bike’s seat post using the Yepp Maxi seat post adapter (fits 95% of bike models). The seat is quick and simple to snap into place and also detach. Additional Yepp Maxi seat post adapters can be bought to allow use on more than one bike.
The Yepp Maxi Standard can be attached to bicycles with a frame size of 21 inches or larger and a seat post diameter of 1 1.8 inches (28-45mm). However, there are some bikes with a frame smaller than 21 inches, which can also be used with the seat.
Please consult your bike shop or Yepp to check whether your bike is suitable for use with the Thule Yepp Maxi rear seat.
An integral anti-theft lock helps give peace of mind when leaving your bike unattended, making it ideal for both adventurous cycling days out or the daily commute. There are also three rear reflectors for nighttime and low light levels when road cycling.
As you can see from this picture, Yepp also do a front bike seat, called the Thule Yepp Mini if you need to carry more than one child at the same time.
A quick wording about the naming of the seat if you're buying secondhand.
The Yepp brand (which was Dutch) was bought out by Thule (a Swedish company) in 2016.
It took a while for a new name to come to market, especially in the UK, so older seats may be listed just as Yepp rather than Thule Yepp.
Hamax’s top of the range kids bike back seat, the Siesta, as the name suggests, is great for toddlers who like a snooze while you do the hard work.
The seat can be reclined by 20 degrees without impacting on the centre of gravity, allowing your child to enjoy their siesta in comfort.
The standard Siesta model uses the Hamax Safety System which is quickly and easily fitted to most types of bikes using only 4 screws. You can remove the bike from the fixing point, but it will still have the metal carrier bars attached to the seat.
The Siesta has a curved head area to allow space for the back of the helmet (resulting in a more ergonomic ride, as your child’s head is not pushed forward by the back of the seat).
The Hamax Siesta comes with a double buckle system, which Hamax says only requires one hand to fasten and keep the child securely in the seat, leaving your other hand free to support the bike. It can also be fastened without going over the child’s head (or helmet).
Cycle Sprog reader Andy has provided us with the following details of the Hamax: "I have used the Hamax Siesta on a full-suspension Specialized Bicycles Stumpjumper 2010 without problem for several years. The seat is very good, and although you can release the buckles with one hand it is pretty stiff and isn't easy. Much easier to use two hands."
Hamax also produce a wide range of accessories, including a neck support pillow and waterproofs, plus additional fixing points so you can carry on more than one bike.
Bobike makes a large range of different bike seats, and if you ever venture over to Holland you'll see that they rival the Thule Yepp for popularity.
The Bobike Exclusive Tour is their premium model, which has been designed with longer bike rides and cycle touring in mind.
This is shown in features such as an adjustable headrest and a contoured belt which is designed to keep your baby upright, even if they fall asleep.
The "Click and Go" mounting system allows you to switch the seat easily between bicycles, which is useful on long bike rides or if you're sharing the nursery drop off and pickups and the seat belt is designed to be fastened with just one hand.
There is a flashing LED light on the rear for safety during the winter months.
A waterproof cushioned seat (and we know sometimes it's more than the rain that gets a seat wet!), spoke protectors, adjustable foot support trays and helmet recess all combine to make this a premium kids bike seat, which is of course reflected in the price.
The Bobike Exclusive range has two different mounting systems available - one that fits onto a rear pannier rack (called the "carrier mount"), and another that mounts directly onto the frame, which can be specified at the time of purchase.
The slightly less expensive Bobike Maxi Exclusive is very similar in design to the Tour shown above but doesn't have the headrests and head cushion support.
This will be more suitable for older children who don't sleep so much, or for shorter daily commutes where your child wants to see what's going on and is unlikely to fall asleep.
All other aspects of the Bobike Exclusive Maxi rear seat are the same as the Tour version.Buy Now
Mid-range rear bike seats
These rear bike seats are slightly cheaper than the premium ranges featured above, meaning there are some differences in terms of quality, ease of use, and comfort.
However, they're all really good rear bike seats that would be perfect for getting out and about with your Cycle Sprog, especially if they don't need to nap during your rides.
Billed as Hamax’s “Comfort” model, the Smiley comes with built-in suspension, to protect your child’s spine.
The Hamax Smiley (like the more expensive Siesta) comes with Hamax’s double buckle system, which only requires one hand to fasten and keep the child securely in the seat, leaving your other hand free to support the bike.
Ventilation in the backrest is also provided, to keep your child cool on a summer’s day.
As with the Siesta, there are two versions of the seat, with different ways of fixing a bike so make sure you're buying the correct one.
We've noticed that most retailers tend to stock the frame, rather than the rack-mounted version.
This version uses the Hamax Safety System which is quickly and easily fitted to most types of bikes using only 4 screws. You can remove the bike from the fixing point, but it will still have the metal carrier bars attached to the seat.Buy New
All the rear seats we've looked at so far have been designed for smaller children, but once your child grows out of their first rear seat you can continue to carry them using the Yepp Junior seat - usually between the ages of 5 and about 9.
This type of seat is incredibly popular in Holland, where you see lots of primary school-aged children being carried this way.
Yepp do two models - the more robust junior seat shown here (RRP £85) is designed for daily use.
It has solid folding footrests to ensure feet and spokes don't mix, and the backrest is designed to be comfortable and also a bit "cooler" for older kids who don't necessarily want to look as if they're being contained too much.
They also do a budget version, which is £12 cheaper and has an over the head buckle system and slightly different styling. Both versions are available at Amazon.
If you want to see other bike seats for older children, go to the post The best front-mounted bike seats for older kids.
Basic Models of rear bike seat
If you're using your rear child seat on a daily basis, and have several younger siblings coming along to use it, then it can make sense to invest in a more expensive version.
However, we all know kids grow so quickly so if you're only going to use the seat for a few weekends and holiday rides you can get a perfectly good rear bike seat and still have change from £50. Don't expect to have all the fancy features, but do expect to have a fun ride!
Another option, if you're just looking for a rear seat for a holiday or short period, is to rent one instead.
The Avenir Snug from Raleigh comes in two models - one secures straight onto the bike frame and the other onto a rear-mounted pannier rack.
Both versions come with a 3 point safety harness, adjustable foot straps and some seat padding, plus it has a reflective rear sticker.
As with the other brands mentioned in this article, Polisport do a range of bike seats, mainly at the mid to low price range.
Their entry-level seat is the Koolah, which comes with Adjustable Foot Rests, an ergonomic shape for the helmet to rest in and a reasonable amount of protection to the sides.
There is a rack-mounted and a frame-mounted version, so check you're ordering the one to suit your bike.
The feature that distinguishes the Koolah is that you can get a model designed to fit a 29" mountain bike (and paradoxically it also fits a bike with a smaller frame) as you're able to push the seat up as shown in this diagram.Buy Now
Bellelli Pepe rear bike seat
The Bellelli seat is made in Italy from certified non-toxic plastic and meets European Regulation EN 14344. The seat is certified for children weighing up to 22 kg/48.5 lbs.
Belleli claims it can be switched from one bike to another in seconds, and it has features such as reclined angle for the neck plus ergonomic shoulders support, high sideboards to increase support, wider and safer legs/feet side protection, and a childproof, parent-friendly safety buckle, with two depth settings in the centre of the seat. Only one hand is needed to fasten and release it. The cushion is washable.
We've not been able to test this seat, but it gets good reviews as an entry-level seat usually and is now even further reduced so a great choice if you're on a budget, or don't plan to get much use out of the seat.
These have been a popular seat over the past few years due to the entry level price point, so there's quite a few becoming available secondhand at the moment.Buy Used
How do I know which rear bike seat will fit my bike?
As you can see, each manufacturer has a wide range of bike seats to suit different ages, bike types and riding requirements. Most retailers will stock a wider range than shown here, so have a look at each model in the range to see which suits you and your child best.
Every bike and every seat is slightly different, so if you're unsure if a particular seat will fit your bike we recommend;
1) Emailing the seat manufacturer to ask
2) Speaking to your local independent bike shop
3) Joining the Family Cycling UK Facebook Group and searching the group for similar questions. If someone hasn't asked about your specific type of bike then post your own question - there's usually someone who has fitted a seat to a similar type of bike.
Other articles you may find useful:
- E-bikes and child bike seats - all your questions answered
- Front bike seats for kids – makes and models
- The best bike for a 1 year old
- Rear bike seats – a great way to cycle with a toddler
- Choosing the best balance bike for your child
- Toddlebike review – a pre balance bike for under 3’s
- Can I cycle with my baby in a sling or baby carrier?
- The best 14″ starter bikes for ages 3 and 4 years
- The best front mounted bike seats for older kids
- Cycling with older kids who have a disability or special needs
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