The minimum age requirement for ride-on toys is 1 year and above!!
But age is just a number. You need to make sure your kid is ready and has the proper development needed to use such a toy.
After your baby’s first year, you can gradually shift to more technical and advanced vehicles and it will help them to remain energetic and fit.
This guide will help you determine the appropriate developmental stage of your kid and what kind of ride-on toys will suit them.
But first, you need to know what defines a ride-on toy.
In the Post
What Are Ride-on Toys?
Toys that require children to either use their feet to propel or are powered by electric or gasoline motors are termed as ride-on toys.
As toddlers begin to walk, move and explore the surrounding environment, such toys can help them to get a sense of movement, balance and control over their motor skills.
Usually, balance is the deciding factor when choosing a ride-on toy. The type of wheels used more or less control this.
If the wheels are larger, the balance will be higher. If the wheels have rotational speed from electric power or gasoline, it will have an impact on balance.
So, the overall size of the toy, it’s speed and the technique of using it should be taken into consideration when buying a toy like this for your toddler.
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When Is the Right Time for Ride-on Toys?
Children below 10 months don’t have the ability to balance themselves and sit up on a surface appropriately. Thus, ride-on toys become dangerous for them. They can fall over either side and so, you need to when is the right time.
Make a careful assessment whether your kid meets the following criteria:
- Can sit up maintaining balance: To use a ride-on toy, a kid must be able to sit up and don’t lose balance. Before you buy one, observe him and see if he manages to hold his weight.
- Can walk without any help: This means you child should be able to walk with no support from an elder. It isn’t like taking baby steps. The child must have moderate to full control on his walking.
- Begins to run: The moment your toddler begins to learn running, it’s a sign of his development. It doesn’t have to be smooth or fast.
- Can kick a ball and remain stable: Kicking a football creates a rebound force. And if your child can successfully tackle that force and remain stable, that’s a good sign of his eligibility to get a ride-on toy.
- Can climb: Climbing is a difficult skill that can take 2-3 years to fully develop. However, when your child can crawl over surfaces like furniture or staircases and understand what he is doing, that’s a green sign for you.
All these criteria translate into the fact that a ride-on toy is appropriate at 1 year or older, depending on your kid’s physical and mental development.
Age Guidelines for Toddler Ride-on Toys
1 to 1.5 years
Ride-on toys at this age should have the following things:
- Doesn’t have pedals. Children should use their feet to push the toy along.
- The toy must be totally stable. If it’s a wheel-type toy, it should have at least 4 wheels.
- The wheels should have sufficient spacing between them but so much to make it difficult for your child.
- The height must be low enough to get on and off easily, which means the feet must touch the floor.
- Steerings are not mandatory. At this age, children can’t use the steering effectively and hence not required.
1.5- below 2 years
At 1.5 to below 2 years age, toddlers will have more skills and power needed to operate a manual toy. But they are still not capable enough to ride fast moving toys. So, look for these extra things:
- Should have bright colors
- Should have horns or music enabled to hold attention
- Ride-on toys with buttons that reveal something are more effective. Small wagons can be perfect for this.
- The feet must touch the floor
- Slow-moving motorized vehicles should be okay. But still not appropriate as children at this age can’t steer properly.
Children at 2 years of age have more balance and coordination than the younger ones. But keep in mind, they are not yet fully capable of steering battery-powered vehicles. Here’s a quick guide:
- Get realistic ride-on toys. There’s a thing called ‘pretend play’. It basically means your child can imagine a fighter plane themed toy as a real fighter plane.
- A 3-wheeled scooter that has slow movement can be a great choice.
- You can introduce them to tricycles with pedals. This will help them to develop their coordination further.
- Children can ride steering vehicles or the ones with handlebars. Their coordination is much developed now. So. you can definitely get a slow moving electric toy for them.
- Their pedaling skills are now highly developed. But you still can’t expect them to ride a two-wheeled bicycle. So, bicycles with training wheels are appropriate.
- Opt for foot brakes instead of hand brakes. Hand brakes can distract their control over the steering.
At around 4 and 5, children become interested in more technical vehicles. They want more speed, fun and movability. They can now maintain their balance on two-wheeled ride-on toys and bicycles.
There are certain scooter models for 6 year old kids that give them a ton of freedom and safety when they reach that age. These scooters usually have leg brakes and work through feet propelling. It’s the perfect time to teach them how to ride bicycles without supporting wheels.
It’s tempting to buy a ride-on toy as soon as you see your child begins to walk. But you should be patient. Make sure he has developed enough to safely ride and balance himself. If you get a surprise toy gift, keep it away until the right time comes.