Once your child turns into a preschooler from a toddler, it opens more opportunities to introduce him/her to various activities. And because he/she is more capable of doing multiple skills, we can also challenge him/her to enhance them and learn more.
One of the activities that are great for kids this age is riding the scooter. It’s a fun way to exhibit various physical skills and hone outstanding balance and coordination. But more than a practice and exercise for physical health, riding the scooter also teaches your child different emotional and social skills.
Being around other kids teaches him/her empathy and cooperation, and riding the scooter lets your child understand the importance of obedience and following rules. However, for your child to get the most of scootering, you have to choose the best scooter for him/her. With the different models in the market, what are the things that you should check to find what’s suitable for a four-year-old?
Two-Wheel vs Three-Wheel
According to CuteLittleDarling, four-year-olds should start with a three-wheel scooter first. Of course, each child varies in their physical capabilities, so your child might be able to use a two-wheel scooter earlier than his/her peers. However, for first-time rides and those who are not confident with their balance yet, a three-wheel scooter is the safest and easiest way to go.
A three-wheel scooter serves as a practice until your preschooler gets used to balance and coordination. Because of its design, it’s already easy to balance with, so it’s less likely for your child to fall and get injured. Most of the time, when kids fall and acquire a road rash, they’ll be hesitant to try to ride again. Therefore, you want their experience to be pain-free to encourage them to try continuously.
Another advantage that three-wheel scooters offer to four-year-olds is the fact that they don’t go too fast. This way, they wouldn’t be intimidating and scary to use as your child is still learning how to control their speed. At the same time, some three-wheel scooters even have removable seats so children can start riding while sitting until they are comfortable to ride while standing.
Your child will build confidence much easier because of this gentle approach in riding and learning the scooter. This way, he/she won’t be reluctant and unsure if he/she can try a two-wheel scooter later on. And once your child gets the hang of riding a three-wheel model, you can assess if he/she is ready to transition to a two-wheel scooter.
Height and Weight Capacity
Now that you know what type of scooter is suitable for your child, the next step is to check the model’s height and weight capacity. Not all four-year-olds are the same in terms of their height and weight. Therefore, what’s suitable for another four-year-old might not be comfortable for your child.
You can check the brand’s recommendations and limits in their model’s height and weight. This way, the scooter will be lightweight enough for your child, and its range in these areas will give you an idea of how long your little one can use it.
Speaking of which, most scooters nowadays offer adjustable handlebars. You can elongate the T-bar’s height so that it’s comfortable for your child’s current height. Remember that the height of the handles shouldn’t be too low or too high. It will be difficult to steer and balance with and would strain your child’s posture. Ideally, the handlebar should be at the same level as your child’s pelvis, so having adjustable levels will always make it proportionate for your child.
Three-wheel scooters are already more stable than two-wheel scooters because of their design. However, there are also other features in the unit that influence its stability. For example, the deck should be wide enough for your child to stand on. You can find models in the market where it’s possible to put both feet in for more natural stability.
And besides its width, the deck’s height can also make the scooter easier to ride on. If it has low deck height, it won’t fall over as quickly due to having a low center of gravity. For four-year-olds, they can kick more comfortably if the deck is low as well.
The handlebar itself also determines how comfortable it is to hold for balance. If you think about it, having foam grips on the handles makes them softer to touch. However, rubber grips are more durable and less likely to get damaged over time.
After balance comes the quality of the mobility of the scooter. For example, the wheels’ size can affect the scooter’s ability to move through various terrains. If you know your child will be using it in grass, carpets, and even gravel and roads with pebbles, having larger front wheels will help the scooter adjust to these surfaces.
At the same time, having quality bearings and suspension systems will help for smoother mobility without too much expense in physical effort from your child. If your child has to work hard to ride the scooter, he/she might quickly lose interest. According to CuteLittleDarling, the scooter should be able to absorb shock well not just for comfort but also for safety.
Four-year-olds and kids who are just learning to use the scooter will also benefit from lean-to-steer technology. From the name itself, this feature on scooters makes steering as simple as turning to that direction. Compared to the usual handlebar steering, lean-to-steer creates gentler turns and less possibility for the scooter to get out of balance. Having this feature is also excellent for young kids to get them familiar with the directions easily and safely.
Lastly, the brakes of the scooter are probably the most significant part in terms of safety. For four-year-olds, having a rear fender brake might be more suitable because it’s easy to reach when he/she needs to slow down compared to a hand brake. Those models with large rear brakes made of heavy-duty aluminum will guarantee you durability for a long time.
Still, always supervise your child when he/she is using the scooter. Don’t forget to remind him/her of the various safety rules, especially when outside. And lastly, dress your child in the proper safety gear composed of a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads before riding the scooter.