Tips for Buying Tricycles for Toddlers

An important part of childhood is riding around in your first set of wheels. Between 2 and 3 years of age is a good time to look into tricycles. Tricycles are important for both cognitive and physical development, helping children explore their environment in new ways and develop their confidence and independence. Tricycles are also a great way to build a child’s coordination, endurance, balance, and core strength.

Tricycles are a great transition between scooters and bicycles. Scooters, strider bikes, and seated ride-on toys (learn more about these toys here) don’t have pedals so kids just have to put their feet down on the floor to propel or stop.  Tricycles and bicycles, on the other hand, require some total body coordination to pedal and steer at the same time. Bicycles require more advanced coordination and balance than a starter tricycle.

What to look for in a tricycle:

  1. Safety: A tricycle that is compact, light, and easy to push might not be sturdy enough to support a growing child. Look for a wide base of support and a stable steering wheel (one that does not make hard turns) so the trike isn’t easily flipped over. A decent tricycle does not break easily. Look for a trike that’s made out of sturdy materials (metal as opposed to plastic).
  2. Fit: A tricycle will most likely encourage independence and confidence if the child can actually reach the pedals. There are lots of tricycles out there with adjustable seats, handles, and pedals. Make sure you pick a tricycle that your 1.5 year old can grow into for at least a couple of years. If your child has a hard time keeping his feet on the pedals, there are also Toe Clips available at most toy retailers to help strap their feet in.
  3. Function and Fun: When purchasing a tricycle for your 2 year old, consider if having a push bar would be important. Push bars let parents steer their children around, which could be a good option when trying to navigate busy city sidewalks or if your child has a hard time coordinating the pedals at first. Most push bars are removable for the more advanced tricyclist.  Some tricycles have storage or dump buckets. These are usually big hits with children; they love to cart things around.

Tricycles provide a new level of independence for young children, and promotes emotional and physical growth. As always, children should be supervised and wear protective gear when on any mobile toy.

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