5 things to consider when buying your child their first scooter
10 April, 2018
4 min read
You're looking to buy a scooter for a child. You may be reading this as you're stuck for choice or perhaps you're looking for reassurance that you have made the right purchase.
Here are five tips on what to look for when choosing the right one.
Balance and control
It is important that the child feels comfortable scooting.
If they cannot ride a bike without stabalisers and not au fait with a balance bike then chances are they wont be quite ready for a 2 wheeled scooter. 2 wheeled scooters rely on the balance of the child and are steered using the traditional 'twist' of the handlebars. There is therefore a lot to think about when riding on two wheels which can put off those who are less confident if it proves an initial challenge.
3 wheeled scooters offer a different approach and have a larger surface area, the 3 wheels mean they don't drop to the floor without support and so illuminates the need for balance to ride the scooter. 3 wheeled scooters are great for boosting confidence and getting to grasps with scooting is incredibly easy, which is great for those less patient and kids looking for independent travel.
TIP 1 : If you are trying different scooter brands in store, encourage your child to experiment with both feet to push off. Check to see how easy it is to tilt to turn the scooter, does it easily fall? Does it have a kick stand?
Weight of the scooter
Scooters vary in weight. Different metals are used by different brands in the manufacturing process so consider the weight of the scooter in your purchase. If your child is going straight onto two wheels it is important that the effort used in keeping the handlebars in an upright position doesn't hinder the ability to get going. You don't want to end up with a scooter that your little one becomes easily frustrated with otherwise they will be reluctant to ride it. The weight of the scooter will also slow the rider down. If it is particularly heavy and cumbersome then the rider will need to put in a lot more effort to get going and keep going.
TIP 2: How heavy is it to carry, does it fold? Does it come with a carry strap or are their carry straps available to purchase? Can your child collapse it easily and by themselves? Will they end up asking you to carry it as it is too heavy or cumbersome to transport? These are all very valid questions and the outcome of which will end up in very different scooting experiences.
Is the scooter noisy?
Scooters can be noisy. Some you can hear a mile away rattling up behind you, others are more stealth in their approach. It is down to the way that they have been put together and the materials used in making the scooter.
Generally you get what you pay for and if the scooter has a lower price point then the components used to put them together will be cheaper. Worth a consideration.
TIP 3: Pick up the scooter in store and give it a little jiggle. Does it rattle, does it seem clunky? Remember the shop floor is a great place for scooting; its smooth and bump free. Try to image how the scooter will fare on bumpy pavements or travelling up and down curbs.
This is important for those who want more from a scooter than a one off purchase. If a scooter is put together with lots of components then the chances are it can be taken apart and pieces are replaceable. Though don't always assume this. A quick search on the brand website should confirm whether this is the case.
TIP 4: Look at the joins. Take a look at where the handlebar stem fits into the kick plate (where you stand). Is it welded together? Perhaps it might be connected together with a hinge (if it is foldable). If it isn't obvious you can always ask the store assistant if the brand stocks replacement parts.
There are lots of fun scooter brands out their offering exciting and quirky ways to travel. Your children will love test riding them all. Be mindful of what your own expectations are of what you're buying the scooter for and how long you are expecting it to last. If you need it for the garden and the scooter is not destined for bigger adventures then this may sway what you are wanting to pay. If you're looking for a specific travel solution then the usability is key as you wont want to pay out for additional features or quirky functionality that hinder what the child needs it for.
If you're looking for a scooter to get to and from school and you need it last the test of time then ultimately it will be worth spending a bit more.
TIP 5: You should be true to long term expectations. Will the scooter last? Can you pass it on to others when your child has finished using it? Remember what you are buying it for. The skate park, the school run, in the garden or for taking on holiday. One scooter will not always be suitable for every purpose.
Whatever you decide to choose, scooting is ultimately one of the best ways for children (and adults) to get around. So you should rest assured that you have made the right choice and enjoy all the scooting adventures that lay ahead.