Regardless of where you live, almost all children love to ride bikes. There are now bikes designed for children as little as six months to get them outdoors and active and to encourage this healthy habit for years to come. When it comes to choosing a trike for your child you have a lot of options. Going into a toy store or speciality bike shop may leave you more confused or may leave you buying the wrong model for your child. Below is a quick guide to choosing the right bike for your toddler.
The Traditional Trike
A trike is a bicycle that comes with three wheels and pedals. A child should be able to reach the pedals on the trike by the time he is two and a half or three depending on how often he practices. You can get some trikes that come with a handle attached so that you can help him steer and navigate before he is able to control the pedals himself.
Traditional trikes are usually made out of plastic or steel and can cost anywhere from $30 to $100. The good thing about a traditional trike is that they teach your child independence. Once he has mastered the art of pedals, he will be able to move onto the next thing – a larger bike with training wheels. The bad thing about them, however, is that they can be quite bulky.
The Smart Trike
A new spin on the classic trike, a Smart Trike grows with your child. Children as young as 6 months can enjoy a ride on their bike with Mum or Dad pushing behind. The trike is more like a ‘ride’ with a seat, seat belt and a plastic barrier around the seat to keep the child from toppling over. As your child grows, you can remove the various safety barriers and the trike can turn into a traditional three wheeler.
Again, the bulkiness is definitely a downside and they tend to be quite expensive. Some retail at around $300 but you should be able to find sales at different bike and toy shops. The good thing, however, is that this one trike can last a child from 6 months to three years and provides you with a change of pace from pushing the pram all the time.
The Pedal Free Bike
A pedal free bike, balance bike or run bike, provides your child with a different way to ride. The run bike eliminates the need for pedals at all. Children learn how to ‘run’ with the bike and eventually balance without using their feet. This paves the way to a full grown bike, skipping the need for a three wheeler or training wheels. Children as young as one, with practice, can master the art of a balance bike.
Balance bikes can cost anywhere from $60 to $200 depending on the quality. They are lightweight and easy to transfer and they also provide an extreme sense of independence. However, once your child masters a run bike, he could be too fast for his own good. Make sure you are able to keep up to him and that you are riding in a safe area away from any hazards or passing traffic.
If you are buying a bicycle for a child that is under one, then they probably won’t be able to help you out. However, bring them with you anyway and let them sit on the bikes to see which ones feel right. Most toddlers will love any model that provides them with independence and a new way to explore the world.