Before making the jump to learning how to ride a bike, a 3-wheeled scooter can be perfect for children who want stability and to improve their confidence somewhat. Since it doesn’t take long to learn, they will be up and riding in no time on a scooter that has been designed for children of all sizes. Nowadays, the market boasts a number of scooters that vary in size depending on your child’s needs. Furthermore, you will also find numerous colors.
In terms of design, they will normally be light to carry and some even fold which means that even children can carry it around. With handlebars full of grip and a secure brake, they will soon have full control and you can have peace of mind knowing that it is easy to ride. Although they do require a little practice, they are easier to ride than bikes which can get them used to travelling on wheels. After a few attempts, they will soon get the hang of what they need to do to remain upright and travelling forwards as well as turning round corners!
Scooters with 3 wheels are the perfect choice for very young children or for older kids who have no riding experience.
They are ideal for getting your child to exercise more often and spend more time outdoors, but they can also be an environmentally friendly alternative to taking your kid to school by car or by public transport. Even going to the park can be a lot more fun when the little ones ride on scooters with wheels that light up!
Some tri wheel scooters feature 2 wheels at the front and one at the back, while other models have one front wheel and 2 back wheels. They also come in a variety of colours, sizes and brands, so hopefully this buying guide can help you decide which 3 wheeled scooter suits your child the best.
Benefits of having a 3 wheel scooter
Two or Three Wheels? – With so many different designs on the market, many parents ask the same question – should I go for two or three wheels? In truth, there are several key factors that affect this decision;
Rather than a normal handlebar, 3-wheeled scooters use weight to turn which means that your child needs to lean in the direct in which they wish to turn. If they have had a 3-wheeled scooter before, this won’t be a problem; even if they haven’t, it will only take a little practice to really get going.
On 2-wheeled scooters, they steer using handlebars like a bike. If you want to get your child used to using the handlebars to steer, you might want to go for this option but there is also another factor to consider.
Riding a tri wheel scooter at a young age can boost your child’s self awareness and confidence, while developing their fine motor skills and enhancing their co-ordination.
Kids who are still too young for regular, full-sized scooters can safely ride a 3 wheel scooter due to the added stability this provides.
If you are looking to give your child confidence on wheels, 3-wheeled options are superb because they offer stability in abundance. Since they stand up on their own, your child will only fall off if they lose balance themselves because the scooter will remain stable. If your child is slightly older and can balance well, 2-wheeled scooters may be better.
The 3 wheels and the flex brake on the back wheel bring extra safety to this type of scooter, so that even very young children can enjoy scooting. Moreover, some models feature a specially curved handlebar with non-slip grips and a larger bar end to prevent kids’ little hands from slipping off the bar while riding.
Scooting can help younger children stand upright and become more aware of their surroundings; to this end, the scooter should ride lower to the ground. Look for the models where the handlebar continues under the deck, thus reinforcing the footplate.
More importantly, kids will have a lot of fun scooting while playing outdoors and developing their skills.
Factors to consider before buying your kid a 3 wheel scooter
These are some of the most important factors to take into account when purchasing 3 wheel scooters for kids:
The type of bearing:
The ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineering Committee) scale measures the tolerances of a ball bearing, ranking them from the largest to the smallest. The five tolerance classes are: 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. To qualify as a precision bearing, one needs to conform to ABEC 1, minimum.
As the ABEC rating increases, the standard of manufacture also rises (and so does the price). The most popular bearings used in scooters and skates are ABEC 5 and ABEC 7. ABEC 5’s equivalent standard is ISO 492, class 5, whereas the equivalent for ABEC 7 is ISO 492, class 4.
Typically, the higher an ABEC class is, the better the bearing precision and efficiency are. However, this does not necessarily mean that the bearing will spin faster. In fact, while higher ABEC ratings are used in aircraft and surgical industries due to the high level of precision these require, lower graded bearings are designed for most other applications, including scooters, skates, skateboards, vehicles, etc.
This shows that the ABEC rating has no relevance when it comes to speed, as goes the common misconception – which is fine since 3 wheeled scooters for children have no need for high speeds.
The child’s age:
Tri wheel scooters are typically designed for children within the age range of 1,5 years to 12 years old.
1,5 to 3 years: The best scooters for this age range are the 2-in-1 models. These feature a non slip footplate which can also act as a seat. Thus, the product can be used both as a scooter and as a balance trike.
The strong footplate makes for a sure footing for your child to stand on (when used in scooter mode), but it can also be turned into a balance trike where the footplate doubles as a seat. Scooting at this young age under adult supervision can help children be more self-aware and improve their fine motor skills.
3+ year olds: There is an even more versatile type of scooter than the 2-in-1, namely the 4-in-1 or the 5-in-1. This type of 3 wheeled scooter comes with a seat that can be adjusted to 2 different heights; for instance, to 22 cm and 29 cm. The logic behind each of these stages is to enable the scooter to grow with your child, as well as help the kid learn how to scoot, and aid their development.
You can change the position of the seat and handlebar to suit your child’s age and needs, or even remove the bar altogether. The 4-in-1 can be fitted with a seat to convert it from a scooter to a ride-on that is better suited for the youngest riders. If you would like to push your child’s scooter down the street and have full control, simply add the parental handlebar.
As for the 5-in-1 model, it begins as a ride-on with footrest, to which you can add the parental handlebar; soon, your child will become more confident to push themselves along and even remove the footrest. Thirdly, you can remove the handlebar, but only when the child is ready. Next, for +3 years old kids, you can also remove the seat to convert the ride-on to a true scooter. There is no need to buy a larger scooter as the child grows, because you can simply adjust the height of the bar to a more suitable level.
2 to 5 year olds: For this age group, a 3 wheeled scooter with a polypropylene deck, rubber grips and PVC wheels with ABEC 5 bearings is a good choice. To store the scooter easily, you can get one with a removable aluminium handlebar.
3 to 6 year olds: Kids this age grow fast, so if you don’t want to keep replacing scooters, make sure to get a model with an adjustable handlebar. This way, you can alter the height of the bar to suit the height of the child rider as they grow.
Also, if you plan to use the same scooter throughout this age range, then it is recommended to get one with a low profile design to enable 3 year old kids to ride easily and in an upright position.
6+ year olds: Three wheeled scooters for older kids are usually fitted with ABEC 7 bearings; at this point, it’s also a good idea to get a model with a steel tube frame and a steel swing mechanism – the footboard can still be plastic.
Maximum rider weight and bar height:
These are also important factors to consider when picking a 3 wheeled scooter. For example, for a child aged 2 to 5 years old, the maximum weight is 50 kg, while the height of the handlebar is 48.26 cm (or 19 inches), whereas for a child between the ages of 3 and 6, the maximum rider weight is still 50 kg, but the bar height can be between 67.5 cm to 77.5 cm. A scooter for a 12 year-old can support a maximum weight of 70 kg and a handlebar height of 91 cm; in the end, it all comes down to the brand of scooter you purchase.
Most scooters come with 125 mm front wheel(s) and 100 mm back wheel(s). These are usually pre-fitted with bearings rated ABEC 5 or ABEC 7 to ensure durability and a smooth ride.
Smaller hands need soft grips to make riding comfortable. The added plastic bar ends guarantee a durable product.
Safety should always be at the core of any activity involving children, and riding a scooter is no different, especially for beginners. To make sure the little ones are safe and sound, keep an eye on them even if they are old enough to take the parental handlebar off. Also, look out for the following features when picking up a 3 wheel scooter:
-obviously, the 3-wheel structure for increased stability
-excellent build quality, sturdy enough for your child’s age and weight range
-a lightweight, yet durable frame
-a one piece, reinforced deck that is low-ride, non-slippery, and wide enough so as to provide the support and comfort your child needs when standing upright on the scooter
-a sturdy rear brake
-a quick response hand brake so that the child is in more control of the ride; to be truly effective, the quick stop brake should be easy to operate even by younger kids
-lean and lock steering that helps with balance and movement, in addition to providing safety while the child becomes more confident scooting
-assisted steering for guiding the child
Smooth surface: A smooth surface ensures real mobility, so if you buy a scooter with a wider back wheel base, make sure your child won’t keep catching the back of their shoe on it.
Product lifespan: A scooter with an anodised stem will resist daily wear and tear better. Anodising creates a durable coat that is more resistant to corrosion and abrasion, thus protecting the material beneath.
Another way to extend the life of your kid’s scooter is to purchase a model that can be taken apart – where each part can be replaced individually, as needed.
The manufacturer also plays an important role in the overall quality, safety and longevity of the 3 wheeled scooter. Reliable brands have been around for a while and are easily recognisable; some of the most popular scooter brands include Maui and Sons, Zycom, Y-Volution, Globber, Micro, and Volta.
A 3 wheeled lightweight and foldable scooter can be carried around with minimum effort and is suitable for children aged 3 years and older; lightweight scooters typically weigh under 3.5 kg.
This type of design ensures that both parents and children can take turns carrying the scooter around the park or when getting on and off the bus, especially if your model features a trolley function that enables you to pull it easily when walking, then store the scooter for later use once you get home.
If you decide to get your child a 2-in-1 scooter on 3 wheels, you might be wondering how to change the position of the seat. Luckily, this can be done quite easily; first you have to loosen the locking bolt. This can be placed behind the handle bar and should be easy to spot due to its bright colour.
Once you have loosened the locking bolt, you can raise the footplate (doubling as the seat) and secure it into position. There should be 2 additional buttons in different colours – one for raising the footplate (or seat), the other for raising the platform; one of these 2 buttons will also serve to tighten the platform into position. Your scooter should come with detailed instructions, so make sure to read them carefully as there can be differences of design from one brand to another.
Three wheel scooters sometimes come with additional features to make using them even more fun! For example, some tri scooters are fitted with fantasy lights, either in the wheels or in the front panel.
On the former models, the wheels light up whenever the child rides the scooter – a feature that ensures the longevity of these lights. Models with a light-up front panel, on the other hand, are not activated by the spinning of the wheels; instead, they flash from time to time, when the scooter is in full motion.
Moreover, there are scooters with unique designs, such as a screwless built or a special pivot design that makes steering safe, even at speed.
A 3 wheel scooter can be a fun way for kids to exercise and spend time outdoors, but safety is paramount, which means some research is needed before committing to a particular brand. Fortunately, most manufacturer and retailer websites have filters to help you carry out your search and make the best choice for your child.