We all know the fact that riding a bike has its advantages at all ages, and we also know that most children fall in love with bikes quite soon. Sometimes, just after learning to walk gets boring, the toddler will want to directly jump behind the steering wheel! However, as responsible caregivers, we should always take care of the safety precautions, because the little ones are certainly fuller of energy rather than attention. The classic bike is not the safest one at young ages, and some learning bikes can actually be more fun for a, let’s say, 6-year old than the one you are riding.
First of all, do not forget the safety gear. The safety gear depends on the age of the rider and the device, but a helmet is always a good thing to have. Also, some kneepads could come in handy. Sure, at young ages, toddlers do fall a lot and a small injury is not such a rare thing, but you would not want your little one to get hurt or to associate riding a bike with a traumatic experience that could make him stay away from this means of transportation for a long time. This is why assisting him/her at first and always keeping an eye on him/her is important. Also, it is important to get a good learning bike, and this should be a decision not taken lightly. The second element of safety, after the gear, is a good learning device.
A tricycle is a good pick, certainly for very small ages, but, at one point, your child will find it restrictive, not necessarily because of practical reasons, but rather because of psychological ones: he might want to become one of the “grown-ups,” getting to ride a “real” bike as soon as possible. From a certain age onwards, a tricycle can even seem demeaning for a child. This is why, as soon as you consider your child to be suitable for a more specialized learning bike, you should allow him to take it to the next level.
The next level could be either a balance bike or one with training wheels. Balance bikes are really nice because your child will not have to concentrate on paddling, making him more aware of steering and balance, the two vital elements he needs to master in order to advance to the “real thing”. While training wheels may seem as a handicap for the little ones, a limitation, the balance bike is in itself a unique means of transportation that will prepare him for the next step. Of course, training wheels are effective, too.
The final decision, funnily enough, might not come from you, but from your child. Both options are safe for young children and toddlers, so you shouldn’t worry too much. Just make sure that you can explain to your child the advantages of both in a way that will help him choose. And, of course, the ideal way would be to offer him some rides with both of them, so both you and the child can find the answer. Whichever one you will end up buying for your child, these alternatives are all safe and fun at the same time.