Picking a scooter for your child
All kids' scooters aren't created equal; they come in a variety of styles
to suit riders from a wide range of ages and skill levels. Most kids' scooters
can be divided into two basic types: self-powered kick scooters and electric
scooters. However, there are variations within each category that are important
to consider when determining which model will best meet your needs.
Kick scooters can come with two or more wheels, and some models are more
suitable for doing tricks than others. Some electric scooters are faster
than others, and the design can vary considerably between brands and models.
One particular scooter brand, Razor, tends to dominate the landscape in both
breadth of offerings and quality of reviews. However, models from manufacturers
such as Huffy, Kent and Currie also get positive feedback from critics --
there's just far less of it to draw from.
Some basic safety recommendations are universal. Scooter riders are advised
to wear helmets, knee pads and elbow pads. Use common sense and adjust your
riding style and speed to your riding environment to ensure the best experience
for yourself and the people around you.
Some scooter manufacturers like Razor make owner's manuals for their products
available online. Downloading these and reading them before purchase can
help answer questions you may still have after researching user reviews.
Keep these specifics in mind when shopping for a kids' scooter:
- Check recommended age/weight ranges. Different riders will have different dimensions, needs and skill levels.
Looking at the recommended age and weight range for each scooter is a good
starting point to help you evaluate whether a specific model is suitable
for your child's body type and abilities. For instance, a taller child may
need a sturdier scooter with higher handlebars, whereas a very young or beginning
rider may get more use out of a scooter with more than two wheels.
where and how your child will be riding. Basic kick scooters and electric
scooters aren't made for rough terrain or loose surfaces, and only some
scooters are suitable for tricks.
If your child is a more advanced rider, consider an upgraded kick scooter
with a reinforced frame, wider tires and better handgrips. (Caster scooters
and boards are another product entirely, and there are fewer choices
and not much critical feedback available.) Lightweight kick scooters are
best for a child who just wants to cruise around the neighborhood.
- For electric
scooters, check battery runtime. There's a wide range of types and
sizes of electric scooters, but most reviews say that simpler, more budget-friendly
stand-up models can work well for most kids. Costlier models come with
more options, though, and shorter battery life, lower weight limits and
slower speeds may be issues with the most basic electric scooters.
- Proper maintenance
can extend the life of your scooter. Experts say it's a good idea to
check wheels, bolts and electric motors frequently, particularly since
warranties can run out in as few as 90 days. Rechargeable batteries on
electric scooters are especially vulnerable to problems stemming from prolonged
inactivity or temperature extremes, critics note, so pay careful attention
to manufacturers' recommendations regarding charging and storage.
- Don't forget your safety
equipment. Reviewers agree that items such as helmets and knee pads
are a must for any rider on any type of scooter. Factor the price of your
child's safety equipment into your scooter budget, and be sure that whatever
gear you buy is of good quality and fits your child well.
- Watch where you ride. Stay on smooth surfaces. Avoiding wet or loose surfaces such as sand,
dirt and gravel will provide a more stable ride and reduce the risk of
an accident. Likewise, sidewalks, dedicated paved bike paths and skate
parks are safer for scooter riders than riding on regular surface streets,
where vehicle traffic becomes a factor.
- Respect the people around you. Riders
using their scooters in public need to be aware of the pedestrians
they share their space with. Never ride recklessly around others; always
maintain a speed appropriate to your surroundings. Besides ensuring your
own safety, you want to make sure you don't accidentally injure anyone
else as a result of your riding, doing tricks, etc.