A scooter is a convenient vehicle for children from the age of two. Learning to ride it is not difficult, the main thing is that the child can already maintain balance while standing on one leg. The scooter is lighter and more compact than other vehicles, it can be stored without problems even in a small apartment.
Riding a scooter develops the child physically, trains coordination of movements, strengthens the muscles of the arms and legs.
It is potentially less traumatic than cycling or inline skating because it is slower and the child’s feet are closer to the ground, allowing them to brake more quickly. Most importantly, pay attention to the child periodically alternating push and support legs, for the uniform development of the musculoskeletal system.
The device of a children’s scooter
The simplest scooter consists of:
- frames with a horizontal foot platform (deck);
- steering wheel on a vertical stand;
- wheels (two, three or even four);
Leg platforms differ in length and width – the shorter it is, the easier the scooter is to maneuver, and the wider it is, the more comfortable it is to stand on it. However, when pushing, the legs cling to a platform that is too wide.
It is not necessary that the child can put both feet on the deck at the same time. It is enough that only one leg stands steadily on it, and there is little room left for placing the second leg half-side.
The top cover of the deck must be made non-slip, covered with either anti-slip stickers or rubberized protrusions. Pay attention to the height of the deck – the higher it is from the ground, the more effort the child will have to make when pushing away, because he will have to squat.
But instances with a very low position of the deck cause inconvenience when driving on uneven surfaces, clinging to ledges and potholes.
The frame is made of aluminum, steel or their alloy, which provide the necessary reliability of the entire structure.
Handlebar tips (grips) are made of foam or foam rubber (bright, pleasant to the touch, but quickly dirty and difficult to clean), or rubber pads. Plastic grips are undesirable for use in children’s scooters, as they begin to slip easily when wet, and can slip out of the child’s hands and lead to a fall.
If the steering wheel of the selected model is adjustable in height, then this will allow the growing child to comfortably ride on it for more than one season. The height of the steering wheel is changed either with the help of an unscrewing screw or a push-out latch.
Scooter wheels are made of plastic, polyurethane or rubber. Plastic wheels are installed on inexpensive models, their disadvantages include noise and increased wear.
Polyurethane wheels are most often installed on scooters, they wear out more slowly than plastic ones, soften road bumps better, but cost a little more.
Such wheels differ in the degree of rigidity, and the diameter varies from 100 to 210 mm. Rubber wheels are softer and more comfortable when driving on hard and uneven surfaces, have increased shock absorption, however, they are vulnerable to punctures.
The design of the scooter is supplemented with a foot or hand brake. The foot brake is made in the form of an overlay over the rear wheel. Having accelerated, the child presses on it with his foot, the lining is pressed against the wheel and gradually stops it.
It is worth remembering that sudden braking at a set speed can overturn the vehicle, and small athletes should be explained that it is necessary to brake smoothly. Not all children master the foot brake the first time, because pressing it on the go with one foot requires high coordination of movements.
However, it is worth fully mastering it in order to be able to stop or slow down when riding from inclined surfaces.
The handbrake is an additional handle on the steering wheel that, when pressed, locks the front or rear wheel. This type of brake is sharper, but easier for children to master.
Most scooters are equipped with a folding mechanism for compact storage and transportation. They can be folded in two ways, differing in the type of steering column mount:
- on the screw;
- on the latch.
In the first version, when folding, the fastening screw is unscrewed, and the steering column bends down to the foot platform. There are instances with an automatic mechanism, in which you just need to press a button, and the scooter itself folds in half.
In the second version, the steering wheel with the support is pulled out entirely after pressing the latch. The first option is more convenient for storage, because. the scooter remains a single whole and there is no chance of losing one of the parts, but with frequent folding, the mount between the steering wheel and the platform can loosen and make unpleasant squeaks.
On some models, the grips are still pulled out and then attached parallel to the steering column for a compact addition.
Types of children’s scooters
Children’s scooters differ in the number of wheels, which determine the stability, handling and age of the rider.
Four-wheeled copies are designed for the youngest children from 1.5 years old. Such models use wheel arrangement options – either pairs of wheels in front and behind are located at the same distance from each other, or one of the pairs (often the back) is located close to each other – such a scooter in appearance and handling is very similar to a three-wheeled scooter.
Three-wheeled scooters are chosen for children from the age of 2-2.5 years.
Such models attract with a bright design with images of your favorite cartoon characters, hanging baskets, calls in the form of animals.
Three-wheeled modifications are available with different combinations of wheel arrangement:
- two in front and one behind;
- one in front and two in back.
The first option is more convenient for young children, because. when pushing, the leg does not cling to the wide-spaced rear wheels. But in this version, to turn to the side, the steering wheel is tilted to the side, and not turned – and this type of control is more difficult for some children to master than the traditional one.
However, such control is safer, because it excludes a sharp turn of the steering wheel to the side, as a result of which the front wheel can turn sharply at a large angle, and the vehicle can tip over.
There is also a modified second option, when the rear wheels of the scooter are located close to each other, which reduces the risk of catching on them. However, such models are also less stable than traditional three-wheelers with two wheels widely spaced, and therefore are suitable for children from 4 years old who already confidently keep their balance, but still cannot stand on two wheels.
Some models of three-wheeled scooters are equipped with a removable seat, which is put on the steering column.
This option is convenient for small children 1.5-2.5 years old, who still find it difficult to maintain balance on one leg, and it is easier for them to push off while sitting. As the child grows, the seat is removed.
There are universal models such as a balance bike scooter, which transform either into a scooter, respectively, or into a balance bike – a pedalless two-wheeled bicycle. In this case, the platform either stands at the bottom, or rises up, forming a seat.
Another type of three-wheeled models is with two foot platforms, which are called inertial scooters. The technique of riding them is somewhat different from the traditional one. Here, both legs are simultaneously on the platforms, and make pushing movements, similar to pushing when skating on ice, reminiscent of the shearing movements of scissor blades.
Such models are suitable for riding children from 9 years old and are intended for walking only on a flat surface.
Two-wheeled scooters are suitable for children from the age of 5, who already have good control over their bodies and have mastered the balance. Such instances develop greater speed than three-wheeled counterparts. The smaller the diameter of the wheels and the shorter the deck, the faster the child will be able to accelerate.
For active teenagers, special stunt scooters are suitable, with high-speed wheels of small diameter and a reliable rigid clumsy frame. It is best to ride such models in specially equipped skate parks.
Manufacturers are trying in every way to modify the models they produce, to add new features to them. There are scooters with a device for striking sparks – in the form of a special metal bar, which you need to press with your foot after acceleration, the bar scrapes along the asphalt and, depending on the speed gained, single lights or even whole sheaves of sparks appear.
Other models are equipped with a chalk holder, and the child draws ornate patterns on the go, repeating the trajectory of his movement.
They produce scooters with an inertial mechanism in the form of an additional pedal on the back of the deck, which is pressed with the foot several times after acceleration, and the child rides longer without pushing off the ground.
Children’s electric scooters
An interesting variety is an electric scooter – a scooter equipped with an electric motor. The motor of such models is mounted under the foot platform and allows you to reach speeds of 15-25 km / h. The driving time on a fully charged battery is about an hour.
To start the motor, you must first push off the ground with your foot, as on a traditional scooter, after which the motor starts and the child rides with both feet on the platform. The weight of such models is significant – from 10 kg to 20 kg.
When buying such a model, be sure to pay attention to the protective casing of the motor – it must be securely covered from small debris and drops of water.
Such models are suitable for children over 10 years old, who can already adequately assess the speed of movement and traffic conditions.
For scooters, as well as for bicycles, additional accessories are sold. If the child is able to actively accelerate or is already performing tricks when riding, then it would be useful to purchase a set of protection for him – a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and gloves. They will help protect the young athlete from unnecessary injuries and abrasions.
The range of accessories includes bottle holders for drinking water, baskets for things, handbags and bells.
They produce special covers that will protect your vehicle from unnecessary pollution during storage and help others to travel safely with a scooter on public transport.
How to use
It is better to ride a scooter on a flat surface, without holes and bumps. Suitable places for skiing are specially equipped platforms, rollerdromes with a smooth surface, smooth slides. Children are not allowed to ride along highways and trails.
You should not ride in puddles (although children love to do this), as water in the wheels will wash out the grease from the bearings, and the metal parts of the frame may rust.
Therefore, after walking in wet weather, you should carefully wipe the vehicle with a clean, dry absorbent cloth and leave to dry in a warm place.
The most prone to breakage place of the scooter is the attachment of the steering column to the platform. If a weld passes in this place, then over time it may not withstand and begin to delaminate. So when choosing a model, you must definitely pay close attention to this place.
It is better if there is no seam there, and if it was not possible to avoid it structurally, ask the seller for the degree of strength.
If the vehicle is equipped with rubber inflatable wheels, they may be damaged when driving over bumps. Therefore, they must be regularly inspected, and, if necessary, repaired or replaced with new ones.
If the wheels are equipped with bearings, then if they get dirty or get wet, there may be difficulties when riding.
In this case, the wheels are cleaned with special lubricants.
Handlebar grips made of soft materials such as foam rubber can break over time, in which case they are replaced with rubber ones by buying suitable ones at a bike parts store.
Advertising from sponsors: //