You might have noticed a new trend taking over the minds of the neighborhood kids in the past couple of years. Electric scooters, or e-scooters are motorized, powered scooters that kids can use to ride around the neighborhood with friends. They have become massively popular recently, so we’re here to discuss what they are and what you need to know.
Here are 9 things that are what everyone must know about electric scooters for kids.
1 – Age Limit
Electric scooters are only recommended for children 8 years old and up. For younger children, non-electric scooters are best.
Even if your child is older than 8, they must know how to handle light traffic and only ride their e-scooter in lower-traffic areas.
Electric scooters can go up to 10 mph, although some are designed to max out at 7 or 8 if you are looking for extra safety. There is only one speed available on most e-scooters, so these will tend to go as fast as their max speed.
Therefore, check which speed you think your child can handle and you believe is safe. In the end, the age limit is just a minimum.
2 – These Are Not Toys
Electric Scooters are not toys. They can be dangerous in a different way than bicycles and skateboards because they have motors. Therefore, you should make sure your child is fully confident using the scooter before they go out unsupervised or in dangerous areas.
You can think of electric scooters as closer to vehicles such as cars and motorcycles than just a kick scooter or bicycle. It’s important to know something about traffic safety before using them.
Wearing a helmet is also of paramount importance, and it can be a good idea to get knee and elbow pads as well.
3 – Things to Avoid
Some electric scooters for kids can go up to 20 mph. Generally speaking, you should avoid these until your child is much older. The same goes for some of the much bigger e-scooters.
Often kids will want to outdo each other in speed and size and ask for the biggest and fastest electric scooters. Just be sure you know what’s considered average and safe for their age range. A bigger and older kid can handle a larger and faster scooter, and it is important to fit the scooter to the child.
The handlebar should reach up to about their mid-torso, check with the e-scooters minimum and maximum height whether it seems to line up with that area.
4 – Maintenance is Necessary
Maintenance for electric scooters isn’t a huge deal but does involve a couple of steps.
First, you have to charge the scooter using a wall plug just like you would a smartphone. So, you should teach your child to keep the electric scooter fully charged so that they don’t run out of battery when they are far away.
The tires usually don’t need any maintenance, as very few are air-filled, instead relying on durable rubber. However, there may come a time when the tires need replacing.
Finally, your child should know how to fold up and put away the scooter if it does have a folding mechanism.
5 – Kids Should Know Basic Traffic Rules
We’ve mentioned it before, but kids must know basic traffic rules, including signaling, before taking their electric scooter out further.
Besides the usual looking both ways, kids can move very quickly on e-scooters and need to understand a basic sense of the flow of traffic to share the area with vehicles.
Check the electric scooter bylaws in your city. For most, electric scooters are supposed to share the road with cars and use bike lanes wherever possible. If your child has to go far on an e-scooter, consider mapping out a route that avoids high traffic areas and areas with dangerous roads.
6 – Safety Gear is a Must
Having basic safety gear is an absolute must for children riding electric scooters. These things move fast and can’t always be adequately controlled. A helmet is an absolute must at all times. A little less than half of all states require children under 17 to be wearing a helmet at all times while riding an electric scooter.
Reflective gear, a bell or horn for warning others, and most importantly knee and elbow pads are all important pieces of safety gear.
7 – You Don’t Need to Spend a Fortune
There’s no great reason you need to break the bank on an electric scooter for your kid. The cheaper ones are great for practice and getting to know how they work, and then they can grow into a moderately priced one. The more expensive ones tend to mostly just have better extras.
Indeed, you don’t need to go for the higher maximum speed or larger-sized e-scooters. A normal speed and size should be good for most kids, and the faster and larger they are, the more dangerous they can be.
8 – One Scooter One Person
A popular trend is for kids to ‘buddy up’ or ride e-scooters together. This should never be done as it’s completely unsafe. The electric scooter was not built to support the weight or feet of two people and can behave erratically.
They should not only not drive friends around on the e-scooter, but should also not let friends borrow it as they might not have the training, practice, or same understanding of safety and traffic laws. This can be very dangerous for other kids, as tempting as it will be to share.
9 – E-scooters Are Good for Kids
In the end, after all the cautionary tales, e-scooters are still ultimately a good thing for kids. They teach responsibility, fun, and just like riding a bike, develop motor-coordination skills and get them outdoors and exercising.
Furthermore, electric scooters can teach children a bit of independence and how to be safe on their own. They have to practice using their safety gear, remembering to take care of and charge their e-scooter, and how to move around with traffic in the area.
They also gain some practice with motorized vehicles, preparing them for full-sized vehicles like cars in the future.
So there you have it, a bit of what everyone must know about electric scooters for kids.
If you’re a parent, I hope this has given some insight into both the potential benefits and dangers of purchasing an electric scooter for your child. They can be really fun for kids to play around with, but remember that they are motorized vehicles, and there’s a lot of safety and teaching involved to get started.