Toddlers! They can be quite a handful with a ton of energy to expend, always moving and always active, unless they are in a state of slumber.
Every parent can attest to how stressful this period of development can be. As a result, parents are always looking for ways to keep their young ones occupied, usually by engaging them in fun activities.
Since kids generally love anything on wheels, most parents would likely opt for bicycles or tricycles. A tricycle is a three-wheeled toy with a large front wheel and two small rear wheels propelled by a foot pedal. It is a good option when it comes to pastime activities.
However, having fun or keeping the kids busy should not be the only priority; parents must also factor in the safety and other advantages of tricycles for their kids.
Many parents ask questions like, do tricycles help with their development? Will riding tricycles have any positive impact on them?
These are important questions to be asked at such a critical stage of development for toddlers. And this begs the question;
Are Tricycles Good for Toddlers?
Yes, tricycles are a very good option for toddlers, apart from the built-in safety components and additional safety precautions that should be taken before putting kids on tricycles.
Tricycles have several advantages that range from the promotion of the development of strong muscles to the provision of better stability compared to the average two-wheeled bicycle, cognitive development, and a lot of other advantages that shall be discussed in the later part of this article.
One of the best ways to answer the question “are tricycles good for toddlers?” is to know that there are safety precautions and built-in safety components put in place to ensure the safety of toddlers.
Safety Components of Tricycles
Good non-slip pedals with rubber straps protect kids from sudden slips and falls while riding. They also allow for excellent control of the tricycle while pedaling.
A wheelbase is the distance between the axles of the front and back wheels. A good tricycle for toddlers should have a wider wheelbase that would offer greater stability and comfort to them, thereby making it unlikely for them to fall off their tricycles while riding.
Toddlers are in a rapid state of development. As they grow, so do their extremities. Therefore, it is imperative to get tricycles with good adjustable seats that can keep up with their growth.
Handlebars are often used to support a portion of a toddler’s weight. They also provide a convenient mounting place for brake levers.
Toddlers have small hands, so it might be quite difficult for them to grab onto objects such as handlebars. Therefore, buying tricycles with good and comfortable handlebars is necessary for kids to hold onto while riding.
Tricycles have built-in brakes that help keep their speed in check. A tricycle without a good brake can pick up the pace on graded or paved areas, thereby increasing the risk of losing control. As a result, parents must ensure that the purchased tricycles have good and properly functioning brakes.
Bells or horns
A good tricycle should have bells or horns that will allow toddlers riding on tricycles to communicate their presence to other toddlers that could be riding simultaneously or whenever necessary, thereby preventing unnecessary collisions or accidents.
Safety Precautions that Would Ensure the Safety of Toddlers
Most kids injured on tricycles do not possess the basic coordination skills required for riding tricycles. Most tricycles are not made for kids under three; therefore, parents need to ensure that their toddlers are developed and ready enough to ride tricycles before putting them on one.
Wearing protective gear
Wearing protective gear such as helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads for toddlers before putting them on tricycles is a good way of protecting them.
The helmets should be CPSC-approved (Consumer Product Safety Commission) and properly fitted but not too tight; instead, they should feel snug.
A good helmet will protect the toddler against a head injury if they fall off their tricycle. Wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads will help prevent wrist, elbow, and knee fractures.
Making adjustments to tricycles when necessary
Another way to reduce the risk of accidents or injuries is to make modifications to tricycles where needed. Many accidents occur when kids make a sharp or sudden turn on their tricycles. To avoid this, parents can reduce the turning radius of the handlebars.
Parents need to ensure that the areas where their toddlers would be riding their tricycles are free of hazards and do not lead to streets, pools, or other water bodies.
The kids should also be dressed in brightly colored clothes like red, yellow, orange, or neon. These are important precautions against drowning and being hit or run over by cars. Riding should be done under the supervision of an adult at all times.
Find a safe area
Toddlers can ride or practice riding in grassy areas like the backyard. Grassy areas are a good option because the grass will provide a soft spot for falls, unlike driveways, graded, or paved areas, which will provide no form of cushion in the event of a fall.
Proper and periodic inspection
Parents should properly inspect the tricycles to ensure brakes, tires, pedals, seats, and other components are in good condition before children can mount them to minimize the risks of accidents.
The toddler’s size, weight, and age should be considered before purchasing to ensure that they can comfortably ride with room to grow.
The weight, tire type, size, quality of construction, the durability of materials used, and a fun factor should also be considered.
Advantages of Tricycles to Toddlers
Toddlers are at a critical period of great mental, emotional and physical development. What other way would be best to answer the question “are tricycles good for toddlers” than to list the benefits of tricycles? The following are the benefits of engaging in the physical activity of riding for toddlers:
Enhancement of Physical Health
Riding is a good way for kids to exercise. This form of physical activity leads to the development of fine and gross motor skills.
Gross motor skills involve a large group of muscles in the body that enable running, walking, balance, and coordination. Exercise also reduces the risks of obesity and cardiovascular diseases later in life.
Confidence and Self-control
A good way toddlers can begin to build up confidence and a sense of self-control are through the experience of freedom and autonomy as they master the skill of riding by pedaling up and down, taking a right and left turns, and applying brakes.
Coordination and Balance
Taking turns and avoiding obstacles when riding is a good way for toddlers to master hand-eye coordination and steering skills.
The physical activity of riding tricycles positively impacts cognitive performance by increasing blood circulation to the brain, which will, in turn, increase the nutrient and oxygen uptake of the brain and, as such, improve cognitive skills.
Promoting Social Health
Riding trikes allow toddlers to make good and lasting social connections by spending quality time with friends and family.
Tricycle Suggestions for Toddlers
- Radio Flyer Deluxe Steer and Stroll Trike: This is lightweight and relatively affordable. It has three seat settings that ensure the bike grows with the kid and a covered storage bin for parents to hold their essentials.
- Joovy Tricycoo: it has four modes with five harness points and a height-adjustable push bar. This is a smart investment for parents with younger kids. The tricycle can cycle through four modes, making it a versatile option. It also has a padded seat and an armrest to keep the kids secure and comfortable.
- Trybike Steel Balance Trike: this is a vintage style, steel framed tricycle that can be converted into a balance bike. It features 12 spoked steel wheels, extra wide pneumatic tires, an adjustable height saddle and handlebars, a built-in footrest, and easy-grip handles.
- Infans Lightweight Tricycle: this is an easy-to-assemble tricycle. It has easy-to-use, non-slip pedals with an adjustable seat and handlebar.
Tricycles are generally good for toddlers in the sense that they improve the physical, mental, and social development of kids, provided that the safety measures that have been put in place for the sake of a safe and fun ride are adhered to by parents or guardians.