7 Questions Every Parent Should Ask Before Buying a Scooter For Their Kids
Scooters are booming in popularity and making the number one spot on wish lists for kids of all ages. Whether they’re learning the ropes or they’re a seasoned pro, scooters are a great way to minimise screen time, hang out as a family, liven up the school run and explore the neighbourhood at weekends.
To make sure you choose a suitable set of wheels, we’ve come up with a list of 7 questions that every parent should ask before buying a scooter for their kids. SPOILER ALERT: #7 will really put a smile on their face!
1. Is my child ready to ride a scooter?
Every stage of your child’s development is a special memory – from their first words to their first steps and the very first time they push off and learn to ride a scooter. Before you buy a scooter, you might want to consider whether your child is ready to ride. There is no rush and kids develop at different rates. The most important thing is that learning to ride is a fun experience.
As a rule of thumb, kids should be ready when they reach 2-3 years old and they can walk unassisted. That said motor skills and physical size is often a better indicator so if you feel they are ready earlier, then there’s certainly no harm in getting ahead of the curve.
2. Should I choose two wheels or three?
Two-wheeled scooters: This is probably what your scooter looked like when you were a kid! These scooters have two wheels and a classic frame design, which is often made from lightweight materials such as aluminium or plastic. The basic idea is that kids can steer and balance as they push along with one foot. They’re great for older riders and they are easy to carry around with you, but young riders might have trouble balancing and controlling the steering in the early stages of development.
Three-wheeled scooters: These are self-balancing, offering better stability and control. If your child is learning to ride for the first time, three-wheeled scooters are also a good way to build up the strength of their ‘push’ and teach them how to maintain speed by gliding. The lean-to-steer technology means that kids can safely lean into the corner, which builds their confidence and helps to develop skills for riding a pedal bike later on. The best ones have an adjustable lean angle to make them more challenging as kids progress.
3. Is the scooter easy to transport and store?
This is a make or break question for the school run! Whether you drop the kids off at the gates and then carry the scooter home or simply need something that folds up for storage in the boot of the car or a cupboard at home, a folding scooter can often be a must. Most scooters hinge at the handlebars and fold into a streamlined shape, while some even have attachable school bags and a ‘parent’ carry handle on top of the bars.
Make sure you measure the overall dimensions and think about where to store the scooter for those brief moments when it’s not in use. Buying one that fits neatly in a storage space at home can help to keep the house tidy! The other thing to check is the overall weight of the scooter. Plastic frames are ideal for younger riders and can also make the scooter much lighter to carry!
4. What safety features do you need?
There are a few details to look out for that can make kids’ scooters much safer to ride. Most scooters come with a rear brake, so check that your child can apply this with minimum effort. The width and finish of the deck can also vary. Look for one that has a good quality grip tape, as they can sometimes become slippery when wet. Lastly, make sure the wheels are durable and made from a material that offers grip and longevity, such as PU plastic.
Next up, it’s time to look at some popular safety accessories. These are often sold separately to the scooter, but they are a good investment depending on your child’s age and ability. You should always make sure they wear a helmet when riding and they might also want to wear knee and elbow pads in case they take a tumble. If they’re racing around the neighbourhood, it’s also worth checking out accessories such as a bell, lights, water bottle holders (to keep them hydrated!) and maybe even bright clothing for visibility.
5. How soon will they outgrow the scooter?
You know the drill – two weeks after buying them a new toy, they have already outgrown it! When they’re developing and growing at such a rate, you’re probably wondering how long a scooter will last them. Scooters come with a recommended age and weight range, as these are the two factors that determine suitability. The more expensive models also come with adjustable height handlebars, which can help when they go through that growth spurt!
If you’re looking at three-wheeled lean-to-steer scooters, check whether you can adjust the lean angle. This allows you to tailor the sensitivity of the steering depending on your child’s level of ability, which makes it more challenging and stops them getting bored. In summary: the more things you can adjust, the more hours (or years!) of play they will get from their scooter.
6. How well made is the scooter?
It’s not always easy to check the quality of construction and frame design, so the best advice is to read customer reviews and buy from a trusted brand. However, the areas to look out for are the quality of the wheels and bearings and the materials used for the frame and handlebar grips. This can mean the difference between a scooter that lasts one winter and a ride that will last them a few years. If you can test ride the scooter then ask your child what they think: Do they find the handlebars comfortable? Is the deck wide enough for them? Can they roll along with ease or are the wheels too stiff?
7. Does it come with bragging rights?
This brings us on to the last question. How cool is the scooter? Does it look like a mega machine designed for cruising around the block in style or does it lack cool points? You could read a gazillion reviews and buy the safest scooter that is also the best value for money – but if your child doesn’t like it, then it will sit in the corner gathering dust! Remember, this is a personal decision and the start of a lifetime of exercise, so they need to LOVE their new scooter.
Colour is often the deal-breaker for kids. As well as frame colour, some of the latest scooters come with neon lights or coloured inserts that allow kids to swap out the deck and wheels. Customising their ride can encourage them to build a relationship and sense of ownership with the scooter, plus they can even colour-code the scooter to their outfit. Make the right choice and they will be racing around and having hours of fun with a massive smile all over their face. No pressure!