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Best Scooters for 3 Year Old

Updated on September 24, 2014

What Makes the Best Scooter for 3 Year Olds?

My youngest son is almost 3 years old and I have an older son who's 7. So far, I have bought and tested a lot of different scooters. We are a scooter loving family. We take our scooters to the park, the kids ride them outside the house and they take their scooters on the walk to school. So, I seem to inadvertently learned a lot about what makes a good scooter.This article looks at all the things you should consider when buying a scooter for a 3 year old from the size and number of the wheels, to the width of the deck as well as scooter's bearing and the speed that it goes. Get ready for a scooter masterclass and there are lots of suggestions of good scooters for 3 year olds as well.

The picture is of my youngest son on his mini micro scooter.

What to Look For When Buying a Kids Scooter

Here are some things to look for when buying a scooter for a 3 year old.

Number of wheels - generally a 3 wheel scooter is a good choice for most 3 year olds. It's easier for them to balance and co-ordinate, its sturdier and safer. Having said this some 3 year olds would be able to use a 2 wheel scooter, especially if they're already competent on a 3 wheel scooter. If you look for a 2 wheel scooter, look for one with larger wider wheels. There are also 4 wheel scooters which are fine for a 3 year old too.

Wheel size - Generally scooters for young children have wheel sizes around 5 inches (120 - 130mm). As a comparison a standard size scooter for older kids has a wheel size of around 4 inches (100mm). Bigger wheels give a smoother ride than smaller wheels as they go over any cracks more easily. They also gather speed at a slower rate which can make them safer for kids to use at first. When bigger wheels actually get up speed they tend to cruise better than smaller wheels so kids don't have to constantly push themselves along.

Bearings - When looking for a scooter, you may see a ABEC rating normally either (ABEC 1, 3 or 5). This relates to the quality of bearings in the scooter. Generally you want an ABEC 5 rating as the higher the rating the smoother the ride.

Weight capacity - Some scooters will give a weight capacity limit. This will give you an idea of how long your child will be able to use the scooter for. I would look for this rather than an age limit as kids sizes can vary so much.

Can the scooter fold? - As a mom, a folding scooter has been very advantageous. When your kids have had enough of the scooter which can happen a lot when they are 3, it makes it so much easier when you can fold it and carry it rather than carrying a big, awkward scooter. In the past, I have also put my folded up scooter over the handlebar of the stroller of my younger child. So I can push the stroller without having to carry a scooter.

Weight of the scooter - Again, if you have to carry the scooter it is a lot easier if it's lightweight. A lightweight scooter is also easier for a child to lift and maneuver.

Steering mechanism - There are generally two types of steering mechanisms on scooters for younger children. The first one is where you use the handlebars to move the scooter in the direction you want to go. The second one is a lean and steer mechanism. With these scooters the child moves the scooter by leaning in the direction they want to go in. They don't turn the handlebars. It's difficult to say which of these is best for young children. They are just different. However, I would say that if your child already has experience of using a scooter with handlebars it can be difficult for them to make the transition to a lean and steer system. We have a lean and steer system on my younger son's scooter but my older son who's only used handlbars with steering struggles to use a lean and steer scooter.

Deck - A wider scooter deck offers more stability and is easier to balance. Decks that allow space for two feet means that they can often put both feet up and enjoy the ride. A deck that is low to the ground is easier for little kids to get on and off.

Speed - Scooters offer differing levels of speed. With 3 year olds, a scooter which gathers speed slowly is advantageous. They can then go quite slow until they gain some confidence. However, a scooter which is stiff and struggles to gather any speed may leave the child frustrated. It's worth reading some reviews for the scooter so see how it rates in relevance to speed.

Brakes - Some scooters offer foot brakes. Brakes on scooters are generally designed for slowing the scooter down rather than stopping. Stopping should be done by slowing down and using your feet. Even though my boy's scooters have brakes, I've never actually seen them being used. My kids tend to use their feet.

Affordability - Scooters for kids this age come in a huge price range. Obviously how much you spend is up to you. If you want the scooter to last for a few years - perhaps you have younger siblings who may use the scooter too, it may be worth spending a bit more. I would generally say that by age 5, you will probably want to look for a new scooter for your child as they may graduate onto 2 wheels or have grown a lot. As a general rule, more expensive scooters tend to use better quality materials so offer a smoother ride and will tend to last longer. Having had a few cheaper scooters, you can often tell the difference (having said this - I'm not sure my kids can). Less expensive scooters often rattle more and you can see it's more of a bumpy ride. However, as with anything this isn't always the case which is why it's good to read a few reviews to get an idea.

Height adjustable handlebar - Some scooters have height adjustable handlebars which can increase the longevity of the scooter as it will grow with your child. Ones without height adjustable handlebars tend to have a smaller recommended age range.

Photo courtesy of Stock images / Freedigitalphotos,net

Radio Flyer 3 Wheel Scooters

Radio Flyer makes a range of 3 wheel scooters at very competitive prices. Check out a couple below.

Radio Flyer My 1st Scooter, Red
Radio Flyer My 1st Scooter, Red

This scooter is a good choice of first scooter at an excellent price point. It has features to offer safety and stability. Currently $24.97 at the time of writing. It has an extra wide deck (10" l x 8" w) and 2 front wheels which really helps riders feel stable.You use the handlebars to steer the scooter left and right. The wheels are all 5 inches in diameter, which helps with a smoother ride. The bearing type is ABEC-5. The weight capacity is 50 pounds. It also features a foot brake on the back wheel.

Radio Flyer Pro Glider
Radio Flyer Pro Glider

This is designed to be a faster scooter than the one above while still offering the stability of a three wheel scooter. The weight limit is 60 pounds. The front 2 wheels are 120 mm in diameter (just under 5 inches) and the back wheel is 80mm (just over 3 inches). The bearing type is ABEC-5The deck is fairy wide although not quite as wide as the My 1st Scooter (11inches by 5 inches).


Mini Micro Scooter - My Son's Scooter

This is the scooter my son has. He does love it. It is more expensive than other scooters but it offers a very smooth ride as its designed well and it's made of high quality materials - which I think is what you're paying the extra for. It's lightweight so easy to carry. Also it makes it easy for my son to lift and move which is part of how the learn to handle and ride the scooter.The only thing I would change about it is I would like it to fold - it's just easier for carrying and storage. But it's so lightweight (only 4.5 pounds), it's easy to carry when my son gets fed up.

3 Year Old Girl Riding On her Mini Micro Scooter.

Two Wheel Scooter

If the 3 year old you are buying for already has some experience of a 3 wheels scooter they may be able to graduate onto 2 wheels. Here is a good two wheel option.

Folding Scooter

It can be difficult to find a 3 wheel scooter that folds. Some of the designs that used to fold, no longer do so. I'm not sure why this is but the razor kiddie kick scooter does fold.

Razor Jr. Folding Kiddie Kick Scooter - Blue
Razor Jr. Folding Kiddie Kick Scooter - Blue

Razor is a well known brand of scooter and this is one of its designs for younger children. It has a maximum rider weight of 45 pounds. The wheels are standard size for scooters at 98mm (about 4 inches). It weight 8 pounds so is lightweight to carry too.


Do you have any experience of any of the above scooters or any further tips or advice for buying scooters? Please add any comments below.

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