If you are thinking about buying a ride on car for your child, it’s a great gift. Your kid is sure to love it (and you).
You may have a few safety concerns about these toys. But there’s not much to worry about.
Ride on cars are generally safe as long as you follow the recommended safety precautions.
Remember these are toys like any other toy such as a bike. So the manufacturers go to great lengths to make sure they are safe for kids.
To keep your kids safe, here are some tips to keep in mind. They apply to both the manual and electric types.
1. Buy an age-appropriate toy
Make sure that the ride on car you plan to buy is the right one for your kid’s age.
Generally, manual ride on cars are the best for kids 3 years and younger.
These cars can only be ridden by pedalling or pushing off the ground using their feet. There’s no chance that the car will go too fast.
Only consider an electric ride on car for an older child – at least 4 years.
They can ride faster without endangering themselves. They also have the ability to control the car including using brakes and steering.
2. Quality construction
Avoid cheap ride on toys that wobble and creak whenever your child gets in.
The car should be stable without any shaking or noises. When assembling, make sure everything is properly tightened and secured.
3. A helmet is a must
This is an obvious one. Make sure your child has a helmet on before they go riding.
4. Stick to the yard
Most manufacturers of ride on cars will include a warning that the toy is not to be used on the street or in traffic.
Don’t give kids the idea that they can take their ‘real’ car out on the road. They can easily sneak out when you are not watching.
They should only ride the toys around the yard or in the house. And even then, make sure they are riding in a safe environment.
Smooth flat surfaces such as grass, tile or pavement are best. Avoid bumpy or rocky areas.
If they play with it away from home, it should be in a safe place like the park and under adult supervision.
5. Use a remote control
Almost all electric ride on cars come with a remote control which has the same functions as the controls in the car.
Using the remote control disables the buttons and accelerator pedal in the car, giving you complete control.
It is handy during the first few days when your kid is still getting used to the car or if your kid cannot reach the car controls. Use it to steer them away from dangerous areas and maintain a safe speed.
6. Safety features
Finally check what kind of safety features the toy has.
At the very least there should be a good and easy to use brake system if it is a powered car.
Other features to look for include:
- Reflectors for increased visibility.
- A harness system if the toy is for a toddler (1-2 years). This ensures your child is safe in the car and sitting in the right posture.
- Good quality and hardy construction that can take some rough handling without coming apart.
- Low max speed of at most 5km/hr.