Last updated: 08/13/2020

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There is nothing that us parents enjoy more than watching our children grow and develop. This is why we love seeing them as they first learn to move on their own and start crawling around. From that moment on, accessories such as ride-on toys come into our lives.

These beautiful toys are designed to help our little ones have a great time while favoring the development of their motor skills. However, children must be able to stand up on their own before they can start using ride-on toys, or they will be counterproductive. Did you know this? Read our guide to learn more about these fantastic toys.

Key Facts

  • Ride-on toys are specifically designed for toddlers to improve their psychomotor skills and strengthen their muscles. Children also love discovering the world on wheels.
  • This toy will become your child’s best friend. However, you should be familiar with its characteristics and instructions for use before your baby starts playing with it, as it can be dangerous if not used correctly.
  • You will have to evaluate a series of critical factors when buying a ride-on toy. These include the resistance, the manufacturing materials, the design, or the age of the child. That way, you can make the best decision and be satisfied with your purchase.

Our Selection: The Best Ride-On Toys on the U.S. Market

We are extremely fortunate to have such a wide variety of products to choose from for our children. However, this does present the drawback that you have to spend more time comparing models before making your purchase. To help you narrow down the options, we have selected some of the best ride-on toys currently available on the American market.

Best Budget-Friendly Ride-On Toy

The Radio Flyer Scoot 2 is Amazon’s Best Seller in the category for good reasons. This very affordable ride-on scooter is built to last and evolve as your baby gains confidence on it. Start by leaving the seat on so your children can have support and use both legs to move around.

As they grow, you can remove the seat and turn the product into a real little scooter to further develop their motor skills as their freedom of movement increases.

Best Ride-On Toy for Children Aged 3 and Over

The PlasmaCar is a kid favorite and fully compliant with all safety regulations and standards. Made from ABS plastic, this product can reach a top speed of 6 mph and isn’t recommended for children under the age of 3.

Its three pairs of wheels provide greater support and stability so your child can wander around stress-free. Its most attractive feature is the fact that it moves by turning the steering wheel rather than using the legs.

Best Evolutionary Ride-On Toy

If you were looking for a ride-on toy that your child can use more than just a few months, Little Tikes’ Lil’ Rollin’ Giraffe is exactly what you need. Designed with a comfortable seat and two easy-to-use grip handles, this product has oversized wheels for increased stability and safety.

It has a maximum weight limit of 50 lbs – combined with the adjustable seat; this means that your child can grow with this ride-on toy!

Best Ride-On Truck

There is little that children love more than acting like their parents, and nothing screams adults more than a four-wheeled truck. This product has everything a child could want: proper doors, a working horn, and decals for the headlights of the vehicle.

Designed for children aged 18 months to 5 years, Little Tikes’ Cozy Truck features a removable floorboard, so little ones can start rolling around on their own once they’re old enough.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Ride-On Toys

We often ask ourselves a thousand and one questions when we are looking for a new toy for our children. This is normal because the safety of our baby is the only thing that truly matters. If you are still having doubts regarding ride-on toys, we have answered the most frequently asked questions about this product in the section below.

Ride-on toys tend to have two or four wheels, a handle, and a seat.
(Source: Anek Suwannaphoom: 97943785/ 123rf.com)

What is a ride-on toy exactly?

These fun and dynamic toys usually have two or four wheels, a grip handle, and a seat. These characteristics often make them seem like an actual vehicle in which your child can experience speed and discover the world while having a great time.

Like any other toy, the main goal of a ride-on is to entertain little ones. That being said, it does have additional uses, such as helping them improve their balance and their ability to walk. Keep in mind that ride-on toys are designed to assist children and not teach them how to walk. Your baby must know to stand before using this toy.

What are the advantages of ride-on toys?

Any pedagogical toy that favors the development of our children is beneficial in and of itself. However, delving deeper into the advantages of ride-on toys makes us realize that they might just be one of the most comprehensive children’s articles. Here is why:

  • They don’t have pedals, so children have to push themselves around, which promotes psychomotor development.
  • They create an interaction between their learning and their nerve structures.
  • Ride-on toys contribute to the children’s autonomy, as they can begin to move freely around the house.
  • They strengthen both inter-limb and hand-eye coordination.
  • They contribute to the social development of children, as they have fun and explore the environment around them.

As you can see, they are the perfect balance between fun, learning, and development. This is the reason why these toys have been an absolute must-have in American homes for many years, and children certainly love them. You can even find many evolutionary models that will accompany your child for years to come.

[blockquote]Did you know that toys to support children have been around for a very long time? A 15th-century depiction of the infant Jesus shows him in a wooden baby walker.[/blockquote]

What types of ride-on toys are there?

A quick look at the toy industry (both online and in stores) is all it takes to realize that the world of ride-ons is virtually endless. That being said, and while many manufacturers try to differentiate their products with additional functionalities, we can divide these toys into three main categories:

  • Two-wheeled toys: Generally shaped like a motorbike or bicycle, these models require greater stability on the part of the child, as they must use both legs to support the walker.
  • Three-wheeled toys: Very similar to tricycles, they offer an additional support point to help children better maintain balance.
  • Four-wheeled toys: These are the most stable models available. They are generally designed like cars or trucks, with a steering wheel that children can use to pilot the vehicle.

Generally speaking, the main difference between each type of ride-on toy is the amount of balance they offer. You should, therefore, purchase a product depending on the age and abilities of your child. These toys have become extremely popular because they are recommended for various growth stages.

Are ride-on toys safe?

Every parent is concerned about the safety of their children, in particular when it comes to toys with which they can move freely around. Babies can always be at risk of falling when using their ride-on toy, and it is your role to check that the product you purchase is suitable for them. Here is a list of useful tips:

  • Start by checking that the toy is suitable for the age or growth stage of your child.
  • The product must also comply with current regulations and be authorized.
  • The more stable and resistant the ride-on toy is, the safer your child will be.
  • Make sure that no groove or opening exceeds 10 millimeters to prevent babies from inserting their fingers.
  • Corners and edges should be round.

If you follow these necessary safety measures, your child will have no problem when using the ride-on toy you purchased. In addition, you must never forget that adult supervision is absolutely essential. While falls are normal, it is vital that you prevent your child from becoming afraid of the toy.

Ride-on toys favor children’s autonomy since they can begin to move freely around the house.
(Source: Olesia Bilkei: 93298111/ 123rf.com)

What is the difference between ride-on toys and baby walkers?

Contrary to popular belief, ride-on toys and baby walkers are two quite different children’s articles. It is imperative that you keep this in mind, especially since the misuse of either product can be harmful to toddlers. We have listed the main differences in the table below:

Ride-on toys Baby walkers
Position of the baby On the floor Practically in the air, with only the toes touching the floor
Is the baby held? No Yes, with a seat belt
Goal They favor the baby’s balance. They provide support for the baby.
Help to learn walking Yes No
Growth stage The baby must already know how to stand. They are designed for smaller babies.

As you can tell, these two children’s articles are clearly very different. While ride-on toys will give your children freedom of movement and support to improve their motor skills, a baby walker is simply a device to hold babies and with which they can move in a restricted manner.

Are there any regulations for ride-on toys?

Of course they do! In fact, any toy designed for children under the age of 12 must be tested and approved via a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC). In our country, the toy safety standard refers to ASTM F963-17, also known as The Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety.

Ride-on toys are naturally subject to these regulations, and the recent modifications made to the text have led to specific design changes in these children’s articles. Overload weight tests have become much stricter to ensure greater safety, with other innovations added regarding the stability and restraints of these toys. It is essential that any ride-on product you buy complies with these legal requirements.

When can my baby use a ride-on toy?

Every baby is different, which means that it is hard to give a specific age for this. That being said, we can provide some general guidelines as to when experts recommend starting to use ride-on toys. In fact, it is not about age but rather a growth stage: when your child can stand up on their own.

As we mentioned earlier, these products are also suitable for when they can stand up while supporting themselves. This generally happens between the ages of ten and sixteen months. Ultimately, the most important is that children have passed the crawling stage and have enough strength in the legs to support their own weight.

Buyer’s Guide

Now that we have resolved all your remaining doubts, the time has come for you to pick the most appropriate ride-on toy for your child. But how do you choose the best one? It is quite simple: follow the four key criteria that we discuss in the section below, and you will be well on your way to a successful purchase.

Age or Growth Stage

As you can imagine, the first thing you need to evaluate is whether your child is actually old enough or has enough motor skills to start using a ride-on toy. If that’s the case, you can then compare the different models and choose the one that best suits your baby.

Remember that improper use of this type of toy can be detrimental to children’s future development. If they start using it too soon, it is likely that they become frustrated because they cannot drive it. If the children are too old, on the other hand, they will quickly be bored and won’t improve their abilities.

Ride-on toys don’t have pedals, and children have to use their legs to push themselves, which promotes their psychomotor development.
(Source: Kyryl Gorlov: 113437831/ 123rf.com)

Materials

This is another incredibly essential aspect of ride-on toys and any product intended for children in general. The materials used by the manufacturers don’t solely determine the durability of the product, but also influence the safety of your baby.

Make sure that no toxic material is used to manufacture your ride-on toy.

Nowadays, we have become very much aware of the negative impact of toxic plastics, and the vast majority of brands create products free of these materials. That being said, doing a little research on the product yourself can’t do any harm. We also encourage you to check that no piece of the ride-on toy can come loose.

Design

How long does a child’s interest in a toy last? Generally not very long. This is why design matters. If you pick an attractive ride-on toy, with colors, sounds, lights, and drawings that your children like, you are more likely to see them wanting to spend more time playing on it without getting bored.

The great news is that there is an incredibly wide range of products to choose from. In addition, many ride-on toys now include other dynamic and pedagogical activities. These types of products are designed for children to learn and develop effortlessly since they are also having fun. The more activities they can do with their ride-on toy, the better.

Safety

As we discussed earlier, safety is naturally one of the most fundamental criteria when it comes to any children’s article. Look back at the regulations that ride-on toys need to comply with, and make sure the product you want to purchase does indeed meet these requirements.

Don’t forget to thoroughly check your child’s ride-on toy before and after every single use. While this may seem slightly excessive, it will allow you to notice any potential damage and prevent your baby from having an accident.

Summary

Ride-on toys are possibly one of the oldest and most popular toys in the history of the toy industry, and for good reasons. Besides being extremely entertaining for children, this type of product offers numerous psychomotor and cognitive benefits, as well as pedagogical activities to help them develop and grow.

Ride-on toys allow your children to move freely around the house and develop their orientation skills and musculature. Remember to always follow the instructions for use and safety measures so that this toy can fully serve its purpose. This may just be your child’s future favorite toy!

If you enjoyed our guide on ride-on toys, feel free to share it on your social media. You can also leave us a comment in the section below!

(Source of featured image: Katarzyna Białasiewicz: 82361788/ 123rf.com)

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