Push power ride-ons can be fantastic fun for both the parent and the child. Not only does your growing toddler gets much needed exercise and the chance to develop their independence and mobility. You also get a new way to enjoy spending time with your child. We've put together this brief guide to help you choose the best ride-on for your home.
Does material quality matter in ride-ons?
Not all push power ride-ons are made the same. Some are well constructed, using hefty plastics and solid metal skeletons, while others are put together with minimal cost and maximal profit in front of mind. It goes without saying that you can expect a few issues from the latter.
Push power ride-ons are generally made from plastic or have a plastic skeleton with a steel frame. Wheel axles and handlebars should always be made from some type of metal. Ideally, these would be steel rods, but material quality can vary widely between models. It's always best to verify the quality of your materials in person where possible or contact your manufacturer for specific details.
A lot of push ride-ons are made from wood (mainly plywood) to ensure strength and durability. Wood has been popular for this type of toys, particularly amongeco-friendly parents.
The quality of materials used in your ride-on will determine how long your ride-on lasts, how safe it will be for your children, and how functional it will be on varying terrain. Steel axles and handlebars, for example, will have more weight-bearing capacity than even very sturdy plastic. So, they will probably remain safe and functional for the 1-2 years of use that your child will get out of this toy.
Further, as your child gets used to their push power ride-on and starts becoming more adventurous, they'll start moving around faster. Which in turn means they'll be turning faster, and the force exerted on the ride-on will be greater. Plastic can flex slightly more than steel, thus accommodating some of these forces, but can become warped under strain and eventually fail.
Helpful Tip: We strongly recommend seeing and examining push power ride-ons in person when available. If you can't be physically present with the toy you're interested in, try searching through reviews in detail. Find out what other parents are saying about mishaps and ride-ons falling apart. You'll be able to get a good idea of which ride-ons are safe and which are just cheap.
What safety features are important in ride-ons?
The first thing every parent worry about is their child's safety. To that end, you'll probably appreciate this next section of the article. Realistically, the biggest danger your child would face from a ride-on, is a fall. In most cases, these falls are to be expected as your child explores their mobility and are not to be feared, however, it doesn't hurt to pay special attention just to be safe.
There are a few often overlooked qualities in ride-ons that can help you know whether they are safe to use or not. Let's take a look at them.
Sharp Edges, Removable, Small Pieces
- As we touched on earlier, the falls your child will experience from a ride-on will most likely be benign and aren't to be feared. Sharp edges on your ride-on can turn a simple fall into a trip to the hospital, so keep a good lookout for these.
Height Adjustable Handlebars and Seats
- Your child is probably growing quickly right now and having to pump out money on new clothes every year is already a hassle. You can easily avoid having to spend on another ride-on by making sure the one you initially purchase comes with height-adjustable handlebars and adjustable seating.
Handlebars that only make gentle turns
- The best way to keep your toddler on your ride-on and not to fall off is to minimize their chances of making sharp turns. As smart as some of them can be, most children have limited perspectives, so in many cases won't consider things like inertia when making turns. If your ride-on is limited to making gradual or wide turns, then there's a significantly lower chance that your child "whips" the handlebars into a sharp turn.
What extra features to consider in ride-ons for fun and convenience?
Now that we've handled all the heavy lifting, here's a look at a few extra things that can make your life easier and your ride-on experience more fun.
Rear Handle for Parent Power
- It's hard to compare the joy of interacting with your child in a genuine, enjoyable way for you both. Which is where a rear handle on your ride-on comes in. A rear handle allows you to interact directly in your child's play, help them learn to navigate their ride-on and allows you to teach them safe and unsafe boundaries of play.
- The most frustrating experience your child - and by extension you - can have on a push power ride-on, is getting stuck in hard to navigate terrain. Your child probably doesn't fully comprehend concepts like texture or friction yet, so moving from the driveway to the lawn might seem like a "no-brainer" to them. However, if your ride-on's wheels can't get traction on the grass, you might be in for a bit of a tantrum.
- Much like the vehicles we operate in our daily lives, ride-ons get damaged through repeated use. This is especially true on rough or poorly maintained surfaces, so having a few spare wheels on hand can save you from buying a new toy every time it gets damaged.