All About Scooters

Jill Berry
July 8, 2010

Children are mesmerized by wheels, aren't they? Wheels on cars. On toy dump trucks. On bikes. Wheels go round. Children soon find that wheels make you go.

Once a child is walking, parents will find that indoor and outdoor push or riding toys will be a hit. By the time your child is 3, your child might have outgrown baby push toys. Tricycles are a good option for the 3-year-old who has strong legs. Many 3-year-olds do not have the leg power to propel themselves AND the tricycle. Tears of frustration are hard to see in your child. A good option is the scooter.

There are two types of scooters: a three-wheeled scooter for the beginning rider and a two-wheeled scooter for the more experienced rider.

Three-Wheeled Scooters

As with any purchase for a child, a parent must first make sure that the child has mastered walking, running, and balancing on one foot. A three-wheeled scooter although stable requires that the child place one foot on the ground while the other foot rests on the deck. The Bicycle Safety Helmet Institute specifies that the recommended age for using a three-wheeled scooter is 3 years of age and up. Some 2-year-olds may be able to use a three-wheeled scooter with one-on-one adult supervision.

Since the handlebars of three-wheeled scooters do not raise or lower, some smaller children may be unable to ride safely. Do not let your beginning scooter rider play on the scooter alone. By 5 years of age many children will have outgrown the three-wheeled scooter.

Helmets for the Three-Wheeled Scooter Rider

Helmets should be worn whenever a child rides a tricycle, bike, or scooter. Always have your child wear an approved bicycle helmet.

The helmet should fit snugly on your child's head. Check older helmets for cracks. Check chin straps for secure fastening. Here is a Consumer Reports buying guide and article about helmets. Store bicycle helmets on hooks or racks, not on the garage floor. Since 3-year-old and up often have trouble fastening a bicycle helmet, parental supervision will be needed to ensure the helmet is securely fastened and placed on the head. 

What To Look for in a Three-Wheeled Scooter

Three-wheeled scooters should have large wheels. The deck or foot plate should be wide enough for your child's growing foot. The child should be able to stand on the scooter and comfortably reach the handlebars. Elbow and knee pads, while not required, may help with the bumps and bruises sustained by the new scooter rider.

When shopping for a scooter, think about the quality of the construction rather than the TV character depicted or colors featured on the scooter. Before taking your child to the toy store, do research on what scooters have the safety features that you want. Give your child the choice of two scooters which you approve of, rather than having your child pick the scooter of his favorite TV character.

Teaching Your Child How to Ride a Three-Wheeled Scooter

Once your child is wearing an approved bicycle helmet and/or elbow and knee pads, introduce your child to the three-wheeled scooter. Your child may not be ready to ride on the first day. If she is not ready, wait a few days before introducing the scooter again.

Stand by your child's side as she puts her foot on the foot plate. Walk alongside your child as she propels the scooter by lifting up her foot as the other foot rests on the foot plate. As your child becomes more confident riding the three-wheeled scooter move further away from your child. At some point your child will be ready to ride the three-wheeled scooter without your direct supervision.

Two-Wheeled Scooters

Some children will advance from the three-wheeled scooter used from 3 to 5 years of age to a two-wheeled scooter. Older children will start using the two-wheeled scooter. The two-wheeled scooter is recommended for ages 6 through 10 years of age. Most scooters can hold up to 140 pounds.

Helmets for the Two-Wheeled Scooter Rider

Helmets should be worn whenever a child rides a bicycle, skateboard, or scooter. Always have your child wear an approved bicycle helmet. Elbow and knee pads while not required may help the beginning scooter rider stay safe.

The helmet should fit snugly on your child's head. Check older helmets for cracks. Check chin straps for secure fastening. Here is a Consumer Reports buying guide and article about helmets. Store bicycle helmets on hooks or racks, not on the garage floor. Children of 5 years and up should be able to put on a bicycle helmet with minimal supervision.

What To Look for in a Two-Wheeled Scooter

Two-wheeled scooters have a narrow foot plate, small wheels, a rear step friction brake for quick stops, and adjustable handlebars. The Razor scooter can be stored by folding the handlebar towards the foot plate. The majority of two-wheeled scooters are made by Razor. The Razor Scooter -- Toy of the Year in 2000 -- is a well-known and respected brand.

Teaching Your Child How to Ride a Two-Wheeled Scooter

Once your child is wearing an approved bicycle helmet and/or elbow and knee pads, introduce your child to the two-wheeled scooter. Some children will hop on the scooter without hesitation, but other children may have to practice riding the scooter.

Stand by your child's side as she puts her foot on the foot plate. Make sure that your child can propel the scooter by lifting up a foot as the other foot rests on the foot plate. As your child becomes more confident riding the two-wheeled scooter move further away from your child.

Scooters may help a child learn to ride a bike without training wheels. You will know your child's level of ease with the scooter. Follow your child's lead as your child masters the skill of riding a three-wheeled or two-wheeled scooter.

From the Parents

Similar Articles

The Savvy Library

From the educational to the whimsical, our Savvy editors help you explore your world. You can search our 1973 articles by keyword, subject, or date.

Notable Selection

Below you'll find some of the more popular selections from the Savvy Library: