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7 Simple Tips for Choosing the Perfect Ride-On Toy

Ride-ons are fast becoming one of the most popular toys that kids ask for. Designed to stimulate the imagination and inspire creativity, ride-on toys can be as simple as a wooden rocking animal or as sophisticated as an electric motor vehicle. Bicycles, tricycles, and scooters, both manual and electric, also belong under the umbrella of ride-on toys.

Play is important to a child’s development as it allows them an opportunity to learn from active action at their own pace. Tots learn by doing, and a ride-on toy is the perfect instrument to let their imagination run free.

You have to consider a lot of factors before choosing the perfect ride-on toy for your child. We can help you eliminate the guesswork involved in matching the toy to the kid. Here are a few features you should consider when shopping for a ride-on toy.

Safety

Safety should always be your top priority when choosing a toy for your child. While no toy can be said as completely safe, you can choose one that is packed with safety features that minimize danger to your child. Ride-on toys are particularly sensitive to this issue as dangers such falling, tipping or collision are a real risk for these kinds of toys.

Basic ride-on toys such as rockers and foot-powered toy vehicles should be slow and easy enough for your child to stop. Bicycles and tricycles should at least have a functional brake. For electric ride-ons, the battery compartment should be inaccessible to everyone but you. There also should be other safety features such as seat belts and child-proof settings.

No matter how many and what kind of safety features a toy has, always ensure that your children wear protective gear such as a hard helmet.

Manual or Electric

The simpler ride-on toys are either stationary or powered by your child’s motion through pedaling and pushing. On the other end are the more sophisticated battery-powered toys that can be maneuvered with a steering wheel. Consider your child’s age before choosing between which kind of ride-on do you want for them. Toys that are child-propelled can tip over if your child’s dexterity hasn’t developed to the point to have full mastery over their coordination. Never leave your children unsupervised while playing with an electric ride-on.

Staying Power

Kids are fickle creatures, and they are always on the lookout for the next best thing. Ride-on toys can be expensive, and choosing what is cool and popular now may not be the best decision down the line. Sure, they would play with the toy but give it a couple of months and the toy is gathering dust in the closet or the garage. Choose a toy that has a strong staying power. Get to know your child’s personal interests (e.g. space, fairy tales, pirates) and use it to get one you think they would like. When your child likes their toy, they are less likely to grow sick of it and toss it away.

Balance

Nobody wants to see their child crying or bleeding because their ride-on tipped over. Choose a ride-on with a low center of gravity, as they are less likely to tip over and possibly pin your child down. It should be strong enough to support your child’s weight and more, and provide ample stability to ensure safe play. Just like testing a car, have your child test the toy so you can see firsthand its performance before ringing the register.

Age Suitability

Some ride-ons can be unsuitable for your child. Choosing the perfect toy for your child not only depends on your child’s age, but also the state and development of their motor skills such as balance and coordination. Wagons and sleds are perfect for all ages while rocking toys and self-propelling ride-ons should be reserved for kids 1-2 years old. Battery-powered vehicles, scooters and bicycles should be reserved for children 3 and up.

Size

Choose a toy that’s not too big or too small for your child. The kid’s feet should be able to touch the floor and the pedals with ease. If you’re child’s knees are touching the steering wheel, it probably means they’re outgrowing their electric ride-on.

Match the Toy to the Child

Even if you purchase the most expensive Mercedes Benz ride-on car, your child won’t like it if they don’t like cars. Conversely, don’t choose a rocking horse if your child is deathly terrified of horses. Match the toy to your child’s interests and needs. If your child likes princesses and fairy tales, you may look for a ride-on that looks like a horse-drawn carriage (or a pumpkin).

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