If you have a child between the ages of 4 and 15, they have likely asked you for an electric scooter by now. If they haven’t yet, they will. It’s quickly becoming a huge trend for school-age kids, and the more kids that get them the more your kid is going to want one. However, you may be a bit hesitant. You’ve seen and heard about adults being hurt on electric scooters. Could they possibly be safe enough for your own child to ride?
[When ready to check out some individual scooters for your kid, check out our Recommendation Article For The Best Electric Scooters For Kids]
When used responsibly like a bicycle or a skateboard, electric scooters are very safe for children of most ages. If they are old enough to be able to steer a tricycle or a bicycle, then they can easily transition to riding a scooter. Let’s dig into this topic to help some parents out that may still be wondering about getting an electric scooter.
Why Even Get A Scooter For Your Kid
As a parent, do you remember the days in which you rode your bike to school or around your neighborhood? Kids these days are not into bikes as much as they used to be. There are so many exercise and entertainment options for your children these days that getting them outside and tolling around the neighborhood or down to the library can be hard. Kids of just about every age seem to choose staying inside playing with phones and other electric games all day.
Getting them outside in the fresh air needs some creative thinking. Kids these days are just not interested in a boring old bike (even though you likely still love yours). To incentivize the kids to be outside requires some creative thinking. Kids need something cool and futuristic-looking to get them interested. An electric scooter can be just the thing that will encourage your child to get up off the couch and outside to ride.
Once you get them outside there are so many options for how to utilize that scooter and how they ride it. You can create an obstacle course for younger kids that will test their skills and teach them how to maneuver the scooter safely and expertly. Time it for an added level of challenge and let the kids compete against each other!
Let them take a longer ride down to the library or their school. Make it a learning experience so they know the layout of their local neighborhood and town. This gives them confidence that they know how to get home easily and safely. It also gives you some peace of mind by observing how well your child does with a ride like this. Do they get easily bored and not want to finish the ride? Do they get physically tired of just standing the entire way? It could give you valuable information about how you need to proceed with letting them ride their new electric scooter.
Maybe your younger kids are a little nervous to try a skateboard but all their friends meet up down at the skate park to ride after school and on weekends. Plenty of kids ride their scooters now on the same kind of obstacles that the rest of the kids on the skateboards do. Just be sure that there aren’t any overzealous kids already in the skate park that could run your younger one down.
Electric scooters for kids these days are what bicycles were for us a generation ago. Embrace it so your child can have the same kind of fun outside that you did when you were their age. It may be one of the few ways your child will want to actually venture outside.
Buy An Age-Appropriate Scooter
This is not a review article that will show you 10 different scooters for you to pick from. Rather, I want to lay out for you the various features that you’re going to want to look at when considering purchasing an electric scooter for your child.
Look at scooters that are labeled for certain ages. These usually have certain weight and height restrictions. Typically a electric scooter that’s labelled for a child between 3-8 years old will usually hold a child that is between 30″ and 60″ tall. Make sure to measure your child to see exactly how tall they are before purchasing a scooter. Keep in mind if they’ve had a recent growth spurt or likely to have one soon to help you choose the right height scooter.
Check to see how much weight any particular electric scooter can hold. Exceeding the recommended weight limits on any scooter will cause decreased performance and decreased fun. It also may result in a broken scooter much sooner than later.
Is your kid in the beginning of a growth phase? Well, most of these child-focused scooters have adjustable handlebars that can raise up and down. As your child grows, you can adjust the height of the handlebars so that they can continue to ride without feeling like they’ve outgrown the electric scooter. This also means that you can usually recycle a scooter to your younger children if your older child becomes disinterested or graduates to a bigger electric scooter. Think of this as a way to save money in the long run, especially if you have multiple children and they are all interested in scooters!
Conversely, don’t put your tall child in a scooter that’s simply too small for him. If they have to lean over to hold the handlebars, that’s changing the center of gravity for the rider and the scooter. That’s an accident or a broken scooter just waiting to happen. Your child will never learn how to maximize their fun on a scooter that’s just not the right fit.
Also be mindful of how fast the scooter can go. There are some electric scooters meant for kids that only reach a maximum speed of 6 mph. That may be good for that daredevil 5-year-old, but when they get a bit older it’s simply not going to be enough.
Can My Kid Drive An Electric Scooter?
This is a really great question. Your kid doesn’t have to be able to ride a bike before he or she gets on an electric scooter, but it helps. Scooters require an ability to brake using a hand-brake, similar to a bicycle. Some of the scooters are turned by leaning and some by a combination of turning the handlebars and leaning. What kind of ability does your kid have? Can he or she pick this up quickly? Are they able to keep their balance on a skateboard or bicycle when on an even road? Keep all these things in mind when choosing which scooter to get.
Take them to a local store that carries electric scooters have them get on one to test their reaction and willingness. Most local sports equipment stores or large chains like Walmart or Target should also carry electric scooters. Amazon has a very wide selection of kid-sized scooters in their catalog. The great thing about them is the customer service that makes returns easy if you feel you have gotten the wrong scooter.
If an electric scooter is the first “vehicle” that they will drive, it’s the easiest one for them to get started. Their skill should increase rapidly, as will their enjoyment. Encourage them to navigate obstacles and difficult riding situations and they will reach a competent driving level that they and you will feel safe with.
How Fast Should The Scooter Go?
Here’s the big difference between a scooter and a bike. It’s quite possible to get your child a scooter that’s simply too fast for them. It’s also equally possible, depending on the kid, to get one not fast enough. How fast does your kid really need to go? Where is the safe middle ground?
If its your child’s first scooter, you should always consider the slower scooter. Even if they have the skill to handle higher speeds, they don’t have the experience. However, if your child is older and responsible and good with balance, let them see what they can do comfortably. While a scooter is a fantastic beginner’s vehicle, it can be used to build confidence and courage for even the most timid child.
Again, this is where testing one out before you buy is a great idea. Having an idea of its general speed capability will make sure that your first scooter buying experience is a good one.
Establish Your Scooter Rules
Before your child takes his or her first scooter ride, there should be a set of rules that you lay out that you and your child agree upon. Consider whether you’re okay with any of their friends also riding the scooter. If you only trust a few friends of theirs, be explicit in who is allowed to also ride the scooter. Make sure that they know that only one person on the scooter at a time is permissible. If their friends have never driven a scooter, make sure those kids’ parents are okay with them trying it out. Respect the wishes of other parents.
Be explicit in where and when your kid can ride the scooter. This will all be based on your child’s age and their skill in driving the scooter, but for the most part you want your child to not get themselves in trouble when riding. No riding after dark, even if the scooter has a headlight. No riding in the street if you live on a busy street with frequent car traffic. They must be respectful of anyone and everyone they encounter when riding the scooter.
Let the child know what type of safety equipment that they must wear every time they get on the scooter. Are you okay with just a helmet, or do you also want them to wear safety pads on their elbows and knees? What if they only want to wear the helmet?
You must make sure that there are consequences for not following the scooter rules. You spent a good amount of money buying them the scooter and safety equipment so they must respect that. If they disobey the rules, then punishment in the form of restricting access to the scooter for a specified period of time is appropriate.
Don’t forget about responsibility when it comes to establishing rules for the scooter. If your child is old enough to drive a scooter, then they should also be old enough to understand how to charge it and when. If they forget to charge the scooter and it dies early into the ride the next day, they will hopefully understand the consequences of not taking care of their stuff. Encouraging this sort of care-taking with their things now will pay massive dividends in the future.
Where Should They Go To Ride An Electric Scooter?
If you’re lucky you’ll have a secluded end street or private area where your child can practice their scooter skills close to home. Maybe there’s a local park that has some nice smooth concrete or otherwise paved trails that your kid can ride along. How about a nearby school parking lot? Usually those areas are going to be the most secluded to give your kid a chance to learn in a space large enough to experiment and build their skills.
Always make sure you’re with them when they are riding. Maybe make it a nice family ride and ride a bicycle behind them. Take them to a library or even to a local ice cream shop for a very memorable family outing.
When they get more experience and can handle their scooter well in difficult situations, consider letting them try their skills out at a skate park. Skate parks are in many neighborhoods nowadays as a way to get the kids together to socialize and ride together in a fun and creative environment. Frequently these skate parks are composed of a highly smooth concrete course where riders can use vertical walls and ramps to build speed in order to perform tricks or just zip around having fun.
Most children-friendly electric scooters simply don’t have the power to be ridden up any sort of hill, but that doesn’t mean that the scooter can’t be ridden down a hill. Don’t let your kid do this. It’s quite easy for the scooter to get out of control and move a lot faster than it was intended. If that happens, the brakes will be pretty much useless and the stability of the ride will become so bad that it may throw your child off of the scooter.
Another thing to consider is when your child should ride their electric scooter! Do not let them ride it while it’s raining or snowing outside. The surfaces that they will try to accelerate and brake on will be too slick for the scooter to be safe to ride. Braking will be hazardous and inconsistent.
Also don’t let them ride when there’s still puddles on the ground. Driving through a puddle may seem like a lot of fun but it won’t be when something shorts out and the scooter dies. Most of these scooters have a lot of protection from this sort of damage, but it shouldn’t be tested.
What Kind of Injuries Can My Child Get On An Electric Scooter?
The one all parents worry about the most with their children is some sort of head injury. Nowadays, the vast majority of municipalities in this country have laws about children wearing helmets while riding a bicycle or skateboard. This should apply to electric scooters as well. Make sure the helmet fits them well but is also adjustable to keep up with their growing body.
Broken bones are also a common injury when riding an electric scooter. Kids that lose their balance or go too fast on a turn can fall off the scooter landing wrong on a foot or a hand. This can lead to broken arms, wrists, and legs. These injuries are less likely to happen if the children are riding in a safe area such as a parking lot or in front of your house on a quiet street. However, children with the tendency to push their limits are usually the ones that get injured more often. I was that type of kid when I was young.
In sunnier climates, don’t forget the sunscreen! I know it’s technically not an injury, but your child could spend an hour or two riding outside during the summer. Not protecting their skin is something you’d only forget once.
Most of the injuries should just be the simple scrapes and bruises from an occasional fall when hitting a rock on the road or a crack in the sidewalk. These are the kinds that you would also expect when they learn how to ride a bicycle, so you should be well prepared for how to take care of them. All parents should have a first aid kit at home with the knowledge of how to use everything within it.
Make Sure They Are Safe While Riding
Just like with a bicycle or a skateboard, every kid riding an electric scooter needs certain safety equipment. An appropriately fitted helmet is the first thing they need. If your kid is going to ride an electric scooter often and for long periods, make sure to get them a great quality helmet if you can. Simply choosing a regular bike helmet isn’t good enough at speeds above 5 mph.
Next up is to make sure their sharp angles are protected. A good set of knee and elbow pads are highly recommended. Thankfully you can utilize this type of safety equipment in other activities such as skateboarding and roller-blading. It’s a great return on investment for any child that is highly active outside. It’s up to you whether or not you think your child would also need to wear protective gloves. For some who are prone to putting their hands in front of them, good gloves may protect that very sensitive skin on the hands.
They shouldn’t need eye protection unless there are lots of trees on your street. Having a child get their eye scratched by an overhanging branch is a great way to ruin their day.
I highly recommend being present with your child when they are riding their scooters, especially if this is new to them. It only takes one hotdog trick or going a bit too fast for comfort to trigger a dangerous situation. Also, if there are other kids in the neighborhood that don’t respect other people’s property, being present could prevent some accidents.
Electric Scooters are great toys for kids and adults alike. If you’re worried about the safety of your child riding an electric scooter make sure you get a scooter that you feel comfortable with them riding and that they are safe by riding with you present and with the proper safety equipment. Don’t let your fear of your child getting hurt hold them back from an amazing childhood experience. They will thank you for it for the rest of their lives.