Guide to Buying a Scooter for Toddlers
Most scooters have the same general set of features: handle bars, a deck to stand on, two wheels, and a brake system. However, toddler scooters are a little different in order to keep your little one safe.
Choosing the Right Wheels
First, and most importantly, toddler scooters tend to feature three wheels. Usually, you will see two wheels in the front under the handle bars, and one wheel in the back. This set up means that the rider has to do multiple things at once when riding a scooter: keep the scooter moving and control the speed, keep themselves balanced on the deck, keep the scooter upright and balanced, and control the steering.
These two front wheels on a toddler scooter are very important, because they provide extra support so that your small toddler doesn’t have to balance the scooter while they also work on learning how to ride. This removes some of the difficulty and makes it a lot easier for little ones to start scooting around.
Toddler wheels are always made of a tough PU material as well, so that you don’t have to worry about a tire with air getting punctured if your toddler scoots over something sharp. These are also more stable than air tires for small riders. However, one thing you can customize if you choose is the size of the wheel. This is important for choosing a scooter that will work for your toddler.
The diameter of a scooter wheel for a toddler should be larger for a smoother ride. Look for wide wheels that are 120 mm or larger for the best ride. The rear wheel may not be as large, but it should be wide to add stability.
Consider the Scooter Weight
The next thing you’ll want to consider is how much the scooter weighs. A toddler won’t have the strength to keep a very heavy toy moving for long, but keep in mind that older toddlers may weigh too much to ride a scooter designed for a young toddler. Additionally, remember that with a toddler, you’ll probably end up carrying the scooter around the park, yard, sidewalk, or wherever you may be. You’ll want it to be easy to transport for yourself in the moment as well.
For that reason, choosing the right scooter weight usually comes down to considering the weigh capacity of the scooter. For a child under the age of three, you’ll probably be okay choosing a scooter that as little as five pounds, because it should support up to 30 pounds. However, if your child is over three, and you want to make sure the toy grows with them past the age of five, consider choosing one that can withstand over 40 or 50 pounds. There are even toddler scooters that can withstand up to 100 pounds. If you want your child to be able to ride their scooter into elementary-school aged, consider going with a heavier scooter – but only if your child will be able to ride it now.
Consider the Scooter Deck
Toddler scooter decks are different from traditional scooter decks. They tend to be much wider to allow the entire foot to stand on the deck at any angle. This gives the toddler more stability if they stand to ride and gives them room to pick up their kicking foot and cruise when they are riding with both feet on the deck.
The deck is also much lower to the ground so that your toddler is able to feel safer. Look for a short, wide deck for the right stability for a toddler.
The next thing to consider is whether or not you want your toddler to have a seated option on their scooter. You can find toddler scooters that have an attachable seat, which later comes off so they can ride standing up. You can also find scooters that are just seated for toddlers. In either case, look for sturdy plastic that will keep your toddler comfortable and stable as they ride.
Check Out the Handlebar
The next thing to consider is how high the handlebars are on the scooter. Many toddler scooters have adjustable handlebars so that you can make the scooter grow you’re your child. However, regardless of whether you choose adjustable or not, be sure the handlebars on a standing scooter reach around the waist level of your child. They should not have to hunch over as they ride, but they also shouldn’t have to reach higher than their waist.
The way the scooter is steered will also depend on the handlebars. Do you want your toddler to have to turn the handlebars, like turning a bike, to steer? Or do you want them to have the more common “lean and steer” type of scooter? Lean and steer scooters are generally safer and easier because the handlebars don’t move. Toddlers have a solid place to grip as they ride, without fear of the bars turning when they want to go straight. This type of scooter allows them to make gradual turns by leaning the direction they want to go in. Overall, this is usually the best choice for toddlers.
However, if you want them to be prepared for using a bike in the future, you may want to start them with a scooter that has turning handlebars. The choice is totally yours.
Some scooters can be folded in half, with the handlebars laying down over the deck, to make them easier to carry with you. If your child loves to ride their scooter all over the place and you want to bring it with you to the park, visiting Grandma, or anywhere else, this is a very good feature to have.
However, this does mean that there could be a chance that your toddler could unlock the scooter’s folding mechanism as they ride and cause the scooter to fold up on them. While this isn’t necessarily a huge danger, it could be scary. It could also mean that the scooter isn’t quite as durable as solid models.
Get Your Child’s Opinion
The next thing to think about is the color and style of the scooter, and here’s where you want to keep your child’s preferences in mind. They may love a certain color or cartoon character that is featured on a scooter. They may want something that looks like a big kid bike, or they may prefer something that makes them feel like a princess. You can even find toddler scooters with pegs for very basic tricks, if you have an older toddler.
The last thing to think about when buying a scooter for a toddler is to consider the pricing. Most of the time, you can find great scooters for under $50 for a toddler. Because they grow so fast at this stage, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to spend too much. However, keep in mind that a toy that is a complete steal is probably not as safe or as durable as a quality scooter.
Thinking About Toddler Safety on Scooters
As you saw above, there are several things that are built into the design of a toddler scooter that are meant to aid in keeping a younger child safe. For example, the toddler scooter has three wheels for more stability, and a wider foot deck, for more balance. They are lower to the ground to prevent falls, and the handle bars are sized to keep a toddler steady.
However, there is another very important thing to do when buying a scooter for your toddler’s safety – get them a helmet. Helmets are a must for a young child riding a scooter on any surface. There is no doubt that they will fall at least once or twice, and the helmet protects the most vulnerable part of their body. Make sure the helmet fits properly, and that your child knows to never ride their scooter without it.
Another important safety tip is to ensure that your child knows where to ride their scooter. They should be aware of the boundaries that you have set, such as the end of the driveway, the sidewalk, the yard, and so on. Be sure they do not ride in the road unless you are right there beside them.
These tips seem like no-brainers but consider that there are scooters made for children as young as 18 months old. Scooters can actually be very beneficial for children this young. They help them to get a better grasp on balance and help them improve their motor skills. But when they are this young, they do need to have safety rules spelled out for them, and they do need to be supervised.
Summing It All Up
Now that you’ve seen the best toddler scooters on the market, and learned how to evaluate them for yourself, you can find a great gift for your child. Let them gain crucial motor skills and get some exercise, all while having the time of their lives on their favorite toy. Whether you are looking for a scooter just like their big siblings’, or something just for them, our list has it all. Find the one that best suits your child and get ready to hear them begging to go outside every day.