A Checklist for Buying a Pedal Toy

First on the checklist is the child’s age. Most toys are graded so that the average child of that specified age group will be accommodated by the toy’s size. This has to be a general average because all children do not grow to a definite height at a predetermined age. It is therefore imperative to check the manufacturer’s dimensions of the toy before purchasing. All the information in regard to height, weight restrictions, length are available to the purchaser. Some pedal toys are sold to suit an age band, say between 2 and 6 years old or 3 to 7 years old. It is tempting to buy a toy for the child to grow into, but this may cause accidents because the toy could be too big and too heavy. Each toy has to be carefully selected to suit the age and build of the child.

Next on the checklist is the child’s size. As already stated, the child’s growth and size has to be taken into consideration since they can vary enormously. In my own situation as a grandparent, I have two granddaughters, one of 7 years old who is the average size of a 10 year old and another one of 5 who is small and slight in build. So height is not the only consideration, the weight and build of the child needs to be taken into account, and the pedal toy deemed sturdy and robust enough to hold the child. The child’s legs will need to be long enough to propel the toy forward. If the child has a difficult time operating the pedal ride on toy he will lose heart and not want to play with the toy, which would be sad. So a few extra checks can ensure the correct toy is bought.

Mobility is next to consider. Toddlers with natural growth soon learn to walk and run so strengthening their limbs. They are given toys to help with “hand and eye” co-ordination, in fact, all toys have some developmental aspect even if it is only from the social point of view. Pedaling is a difficult concept for a child, it takes a complicated mental process to make the eyes, feet and legs work together, and then there are the judgmental considerations- of distance and speed. As we grow older these processes can still be a challenge. Going back to my grand parenting experiences, the tall granddaughter was given a tricycle at the age of 2 and a bicycle a year later (with stabilizers) but she had no problems with the pedaling or negotiating the steering etc. My grandson, in the same family, was different, he took some time to master the scooter and the stabilized cycle took him even longer to master; so you can not generalize about children as they need individual assessment. Some children take time to learn to pedal a bicycle or propel a scooter. The purchaser of a ride-on toy needs to appreciate the child’s natural abilities, which can be enhanced by the correct choice of pedal or ride on toy, also it would be better for a child to learn these skills as a child rather than have to learn with some difficulty later on in life.

Safety is last on the checklist. Having selected the correct size and model to suit the child’s physical abilities and personality, the purchaser must now be sure of the safety of the toy. The safety of the child is a priority, so a helmet which fits and is comfortable needs to be worn when on the pedal toy, in case there is a topple and the toy falls over on its side. The child needs to wear shoes which protect the feet (not flip flops), just in case the feet leave the pedal and the foot is scraped on the floor. With a scooter even more protection should be worn, especially with beginners such as: a helmet, knee guards and elbow pads. With a pedal ride-on toy the child is more protected by the body of the car or plane, which is generally made out of steel or strong plastic. The four wheels give stability and the pedals are some distance from the ground so will not involve scraping the earth or road. However much the child is protected from topples, parents and guardians need to be there to watch and guide the child as he learns to move the pedal toy about, forwards and backwards. It is amazing how fast these toys can be ridden and a watchful eye needs to be kept, to make sure the child does not venture into a more dangerous space where he could cause an unnecessary accident. Having a flag flying from the back of the pedal toy will ensure visibility can be maintained.