Balance Bike or a Scooter? Which One Should I Get?
My son had a balance bike for his second birthday and a scooter for Christmas when he was 21/2.
Many people ask the question should you get a balance bike or a scooter for your 2 or 3 year old. Well, my son had both and I don't think there is a right answer to this question. They will get something out of both a balance bike and a scooter.
However in this article I will share with you my son's experiences with a scooter and a balance bike, what I personally think of each one and the advantages and benefits for both.
The One You Buy First Will Probably Be Their Favourite
He loved his balance bike so much I figured he would love a scooter too. So for Christmas when he was 2 1/2, I bought him a scooter. The thing is he loved his bike so much, it took a real effort to get him to have a go on the scooter. The bike always came first and was always the first choice. I had to really encourage him to use his scooter in the beginning. Wheras his older brother (who had a scooter before a bike, always preferred a scooter when he was younger).
Now he loves his scooter and his balance bike. However, the balance bike is still the favourite. I don't think this is because balance bikes are better in any way. I think that he found the balance bike easy and fun when he got the scooter because for him in the beginning using the scooter took more effort. I think that if we had got the scooter first, he would have loved that more. But it's something to bear in mind when choosing whether to get a scooter or a balance bike.
Lightweight or Heavy?
Having said this you couldn't get my son off his tinybike so I didn't have to carry it much. But on the occasion I did, it was certainly heavier! There are occasions where you might have to carry it like when you are going uphill. It's hard on their little legs to get that balance bike up a steep hill. If you live in a hilly area, a scooter might be the best choice! Although on both the balance bike and the scooter I would be very careful about letting them go down hills. They can get up a tremendous speed which can be extremely dangerous.
Make Sure You Buy The Right Size
The same goes for a scooter. A child will be much more inclined to use a scooter if it's the right size for them. The handlebars should come up to around waist high. Any higher and it will be difficult to control. Any lower and the user will be hunched over. For young children (around 2 years old) I really recommend the mini micro scooter with an obar (this handle is a lot smaller than other handles and it will be easier for little children to control).
My son's balance bike had traditional steering where you use the handles to steer the wheels in the right direction. In contrast, the mini micro scooter has a lean and steer mechanism, where you lean to the left to turn the scooter to the left and lean right to go right. As he got used to his balance bike first, it did confuse him a little bit when he first started using the scooter that the handlebars didn't control the wheels and you had to lean to steer the scooter in the right direction. He did get the hang of it fairly quickly but in the beginning it did confuse him.
What Happens When They Get Tired
On the balance bike, their legs get a rest as they can sit down and just cruise for a while. I think another reason why my son didn't ask me to carry his bike so much is that he could always sit down and just cruise when he was tired.
When their on a scooter, if they get tired and you don't want to carry it, you can get straps which you can use to pull them along. Just attach the strap to one end of the scooter and pull with the other end. Check out the Scoot and Pull.
Beware - Overuse
Balance bikes are great to get kids ready for the transition to a pedal bike. They are perhaps a better choice if you intend to commute long distances with your child (to nusery or school). Kids can go quite quick on them with little effort.
Scooters are perhaps better for shorter journeys. They are great for quickly nipping to the shop. Many of them are lighter and smaller and some fold up and so store better than balance bikes. They are perhaps a better option if you want to take it on public transport as they are lighter, take up less space and are easier to carry.