By: Scott Harvey, MPT
As a kid, I’m glad I had the opportunity to ride a scooter (the non-electric one!) before learning to ride a 2 wheeled bike. This is because scooters help kids to develop the essential skills needed for bike riding, which include: balance, coordination, strength, body and spatial awareness, and building their confidence. Usually, two-year-olds can start riding a four-wheeled or three-wheeled scooter with assistance. When they are closer to kindergarten, they may be ready to transition to a two-wheeled scooter.
Although scooters are super fun and beneficial, there may be some hesitancy to purchase one due to safety concerns. However with proper safety measures in place, you can significantly help to prevent any accidents. Here are some important safety tips to consider if you are planning to purchase a scooter for your child, or if they are already riding one.
- Choose the right scooter: Select a scooter that is appropriate for your child’s age and size. There are scooters designed specifically for toddlers with features like wider decks and four-wheel designs for added stability (see links at the bottom). Adjustable height handlebars are ideal.
- Always supervise: Never leave your child unattended while they’re using the scooter, especially if they’re still learning how to ride.
- Start slow: Begin in a safe, flat, and open area with minimal obstacles. Allow your child to get comfortable with the scooter’s basic movements and controls before venturing into more challenging terrain.
- Teach proper technique: Show your child how to properly balance, steer, and brake on the scooter. They should always use one foot to push off the ground, and then glide momentarily with that foot off the ground.
- Safety gear: Ensure your child wears a well-fitting helmet every time they ride. Elbow pads and knee pads are highly recommended when they are first learning to ride.
- Road safety: If they are riding on sidewalks or in areas with pedestrian traffic, teach your child to be aware of pedestrians and to yield the right of way. Emphasize the importance of stopping at driveways and looking both ways before crossing streets.
- Proper footwear: Ensure your child wears supportive shoes that provide good grip, protection and stability. Avoid sandals, flip-flops, crocs or loose shoes to help prevent a fall or injury.
- Regular maintenance: Inspect the scooter regularly to ensure it’s in good working condition. Check for loose bolts, damaged wheels, or any other potential safety hazards.
- Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries for where your child can ride the scooter. Make sure they understand where it’s safe to use the scooter and where it’s off-limits.
With these guidelines, you can make scooter riding a fun and safe activity for your child while helping them develop their motor skills and build their confidence!
Here is a suitable scooter for 2 to 3 year olds: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FLACUUQ
Here is a scooter for older kids learning to ride: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZKYQBA