The question on mom and dad's mind when when buying a new bike for their toddler age son or daughter is what type of bike is right. Most parents limit themselves to a tricycle or training wheel bike. The trike seems safe, but it doesn't train any of the skills need to ride a bike. Bicycles and training wheels are often the first bicycle for a child, but nearly any kid age 2-4 is to small and weak to control a 20 lb bike. There are options for parents who want to give their child the best opportunity to learn to ride a bike early.
Parents in the market for a bike for children under the age of five will benefit from a wonderful teaching aid known as a toddler bike or balance bike. These neat little bikes don't have pedals, chains or sprokets. A child will move the toddler bike with their feet. While they are designed for small riders these bikes still differ in size, so mom and dad should think through these 5 areas before making a purchase.
1. The bikes height in comparison to the inseam measurement of a child are paramount in selecting the right bike for your child. Most sites that sell bikes online have a sizing chart. A proper seat height is one inch lower than your child's inseam measurement.
2. The material a bike is made from is worth consdiering as well. Balance bikes come in wooden versions and metal/aluminum framed models. There are children who are comforted by the "toy" appearance of a wood bike. The steel frame bikes are more durable and have a greater range of adjustment available as a child grows.
3. A bike's weight is also a very important aspect of a balance bike purchase. Thankfully, the majority of balance bikes weigh at least half or less the weight of a traditional pedal bike. Still, some balance bikes are in a class of ultra-light bikes and even easier to maneuver.
4. Tire material is another important factor. The vast majority of toddler bikes have either air tires or foam tires. An air tires boast better grip and traction, but the foam tires will never need to be pumped up and won't puncture.
5. Like any big ticket purchase, cost is another factor. You will pay more for a balance bike then a bike at WalMart. The majority of toddler bikes retail for between $100 and $150. Some parents hesitate in making that investment, but it really is an investment in your child's future. Your son or daughter will most likely learn to balance and steer instinctively without you ever having to do anything except put the bike in their vicinity.
Parents may worry that their child will learn too fast and outgrow their toddler bike. There's no doubt they will quickly learn balance and steering, but once they've mastered balance on their toddler bike, most kids don't abandon the balance bike quickly. They love the lightweight, easy-to-control bikes and continue to use them even after the pedal bike has become part of their lives.