Kick scooters have brought joy to many generations, but safety concerns can make parents worry about their child’s well-being. Don’t worry — you don’t need to toss the scooter to the side just yet!
My ultimate guide is your go-to source for scooter safety for kids, providing insights into reducing risk. You’ll learn invaluable tips, from choosing suitable safety gear like helmets and pads to understanding the nuances of child scooter safety for preschoolers, teenagers, and even 4-year-olds.
I’ll also help you choose a scooter with top-notch safety features, whether an electric scooter, manual, or motorized, ensuring your child stays safe while having buckets of fun.
How To Stay Safe on a Kick Scooter
Choose a high-quality scooter with top materials and good brakes. Always wear a helmet, gloves, knee and elbow pads, and closed-toe shoes when riding. It’s crucial to stick to sidewalks and understand road safety. If your child is heading out on their scooter, ensure they have close adult supervision in case of falls, injuries, or road safety concerns.
Are Scooters Dangerous?
Unfortunately, nonmotorized children’s micro-vehicles, such as scooters, bikes, and skateboards, pose a risk of injury.
There are approximately 40,000 injuries related to nonmotorized scooters annually in the USA (1). In fact, foot-powered scooters are one of the most dangerous children’s toys. There was a 40 percent increase in injuries between 1990 and 2011 (2).
The most common injuries associated with scooters include fractures and bruises (3). Here is a handy breakdown:
- Upper limb fracture: 53 percent.
- Lower limb fracture: 13 percent.
- Lower limb superficial wound or bruise: 12 percent.
- Concussion: Seven percent.
- Upper limb superficial wound or bruise: Five percent.
- Torso wound or bruise: Four percent.
- Skull fracture: Two percent.
- Superficial head wound or bruise: Two percent.
- Internal organ injuries: Two percent.
What Age Can a Child Ride a Scooter?
Standard kick scooters are typically suitable for kids aged three and up. I recommend choosing a three-wheeled scooter for kids aged between three and six. By age six, they may be ready to upgrade to a two-wheeled scooter.
However, some brands recommend the rider be at least eight years old, whereas others have a minimum age requirement of five years.
You can also find scooters available for kids as young as one. These are typically ride-on scooters. The child will sit on the seat and push with their legs. In other cases, they sit on the scooter, and an adult stands behind the unit, pushing it forward, such as the COOGHI 4-in-1 Scooter.
How To Choose a Safe Scooter
So, parents and guardians, what should you consider when looking for a safe scooter for your child? Whether you have a one-year-old or a 16-year-old, here are some important details to consider before purchasing.
Recommended Age Range
First, you should check if your child falls into the recommended age range for the scooter. The manufacturer should state the age range on the product description. For example, some models are suitable for kids two to five years old, whereas others are suitable for children 12 and older.
Recommended Weight Range
It’s vital you check the recommended weight range. If your child is in the age range but not yet within the weight range, go for another product. Ensure they don’t exceed the weight range for the selected model, as this can cause damage to the scooter.
Recommended Height Range
The height range is also important. If the child is below the recommended height range, they may not reach the handles comfortably, resulting in a more dangerous ride. On the other hand, they may have to slouch if they’re too tall, resulting in less control over the scooter.
Bells and Horns
I highly recommend choosing a scooter with a bell or horn. This allows kids to notify other pedestrians and riders of their presence, especially important when riding in busier places like parks.
If your child will be riding in lower light, such as early evenings or gloomier days, lights and reflectors are a good safety feature.
It’s important to choose high-quality scooters to ensure your child’s safety.
For younger kids aged three and below, plastic construction is fine. Plastic doesn’t have shock-absorbing features, making it a suitable choice for slower rides. Most two and three-year-olds won’t be going super fast, so they won’t need shock-absorbing materials.
Older kids should opt for rubber or polyurethane wheels, which are shock-absorbing. This allows them to go faster without stopping for bumps or small obstacles like stones. It also lengthens the lifespan of the wheels, and they are less likely to break.
As for the construction of the entire unit, metal is preferable for older kids as it is more durable.
Choosing a scooter with a low-to-the-ground deck that’s wide enough for your child’s feet is essential. If the deck is too narrow, they risk falling off since they won’t be able to stand as securely on the scooter.
Ensure the scooter handle has a non-slip grip and is comfortable. Padded rubberized handles are an excellent choice for kids.
Last but not least, consider the braking system. For kids that are new to scooters, I recommend scooters with a foot brake. These can lead to a slower, more gentle stop.
Kids that have more scooter experience can choose to handle brakes instead if they prefer. However, foot brakes are still a safe option for them.
Scooter Safety Gear
The scooter itself is only one aspect of ensuring a safe ride. It’s also crucial that riders wear safety gear. If they fall, the proper safety gear can prevent injury.
Here’s what riders should wear when using a scooter:
- Helmet: A helmet is the most essential gear you should wear when riding. Skateboard-style helmets are best for scooters, as they can withstand multiple smaller collisions, but if you only have a bike helmet to hand, it will work well. For extra safety security, choose a helmet that has met CPSC certifications, such as the Bern Comet Kids’ Helmet.
- Scooter gloves: Riding gloves give riders more grip over the handles. If they fall, they are less likely to get injuries on their hands. Wrist guards make it hard to hold onto handlebars, so riding gloves are the next best option.
- Knee and elbow pads: Knee and elbow pads prevent knee and elbow injuries when you fall.
- Closed-toe shoes: Wearing closed-toe shoes, like sneakers, prevents further foot injuries if the rider were to fall off their scooter.
Scooter Safety Tips
Most kids are going to have a shot on a scooter at some point. Despite safety concerns, many parents will still choose this fun toy for their child as it’s great exercise, helps with gross motor skills, and motivates kids to get outside. If your child is riding a scooter, keep these seven tips in mind to ensure their safety:
- Choose a good scooter: Use our scooter buying guide to find the right option. Always make sure the scooter is in good condition. If you find an old scooter at the back of the garage and you don’t remember where it came from, it’s vital to ensure it’s in great condition before using it.
- Always wear a helmet: I can’t emphasize the importance of wearing a helmet enough. While skull fractures and head injuries aren’t super common, they still happen. All riders should wear a helmet, even if they are only taking the scooter out for a quick spin.
- Stick to sidewalks: Instruct your kids to only ride scooters on sidewalks or private properties and never on roads..
- Wear protective gear: As well as helmets, riders should wear scooter gloves, knee and elbow pads, and closed-toe shoes.
- Follow road safety rules: Teach your child about traffic laws and road safety. They should understand the need to stop at corners, obey traffic lights, look both ways at crosswalks, and dismount and walk across street crossings rather than riding.
- Supervise your child: Always supervise children when they are riding scooters. If they want to go out with friends, make sure there are guardians nearby to keep an eye on the kids.
- Scooter maintenance: Check your scooter regularly to ensure it’s still in good condition. The parts should feel tight, so always check clamps, wheels, brakes, and hand grips. If anything is loose, tighten it up or find a replacement.