If you are a parent or guardian or maybe just looking for a gift for a relative, you may be considering this question. Kick scooters have been around for decades. Kick scooters made a major comeback in popularity in the late 1990s, among both children and adults, but that was twenty years ago. You’re looking for something for a kid today.
The answer to the question “Are scooters meant more for younger kids or older kids?” is yes. Yes to both.
Contained within that simple answer is a lot of complexity. To best understand, let’s broaden the scope of the question to which scooter is best for people belonging to specific groups.
Height & Weight, Not Age
Machines like scooters, bicycles, or skateboards do not ask the rider for their age identification. This information isn’t strictly what matters when it comes to the safe and enjoyable operation of such a machine. What matters the most is the rider’s size; height and weight.
When riding a kick scooter, it is important that the rider be able to keep their weight toward the center-back of the deck. If the handlebars are too low, the rider will have to lean all the way forward to hold on. Another detail to keep in mind when looking at potential kick scooters for purchase is they each have a weight rating, just like bicycles do. If one exceeds the weight rating for a kick scooter, then that scooter isn’t safe for one to ride. It’s that simple.
So what does all of that mean, practically speaking? For a start, most kids’ age groups can be broken down into height and weight brackets. That’s where the proposed ages posted on product labels come from. If one were an adult little person, one might be best off with a kick scooter or the like designed for someone much younger, because they more closely match one’s height and weight. This is why there are kick scooters designed for adults and kick scooters designed for children.
The differences don’t end there though. Older kids can fathom more complex systems. In the case of kick scooters, some come with hand brakes in addition to foot brakes, but the use of such mechanisms can be unsafe if operated improperly. Pulling the front brake on a kick scooter can result in what mountain bikers call “auguring”, or flying over the handlebars and landing on one’s face. It’s not good. Young children aren’t typically sophisticated enough to understand the physics involved in braking to the degree that they can safely deploy hand brakes, so kick scooter for younger kids typically won’t have such mechanisms.
Also, when it comes to kick scooters, much of the appeal is around portability. This need comes from the way they are used: adults often use kick scooters for the final leg of a commute (from public transportation to the office for example). Older kids might use a kick scooter to get to and from school, or in skate parks, boardwalks, or the like. In these cases, where the kick scooter is primarily seen as transportation, it needs to be able to fold up so it can fit under a desk or in a locker. Smaller children don’t typically use scooters in the same way. More relevant to safety, smaller children may not be able to safely operate a complicated folding mechanism.
Their fingers could catch in it while operating the mechanism, or they may not adequately lock the folding mechanism into place, risking injury should the kick scooter’s folding mechanism engage while the child is riding the kick scooter. The bottom line is that younger kids should have kick scooters that do not have an easy to operate folding mechanism, but rather something that can’t accidentally activate, and needs to be operated by an adult. Sometimes simpler really is safer and better.
Choose Your Stye
The final consideration, after safety and ease of use is the look and feel of a kick scooter. Some of this is influenced by the scooter being sized correctly, and that is largely down to a child’s age. The aesthetics of a scooter come into play here. Engineers don’t think so much about the color or print pattern on their creations, but kick scooters are a sort of sporting good, and all sporting goods have a distinctive look. Younger kids will be attracted to bright colors and printed patterns that appeal to them differently than the older kids. Older kids might prefer the cleaner look of adult kick scooters, so they can adorn them with stickers and make them a kind of self-expression. Young kids, ages two to five will probably prefer something that’s appealing to them right out of the box, with colors and textures that jump out at them.
For smaller kids, the sweet spot is a kick scooter like the GOMO Kids Scooter. The GOMO Kids Scooter is designed for children ages two to five, being height adjustable with a detachable (but not folding) handlebar rack. It can handle the weight of kids in that age bracket, and it has the look that will appeal to them. When you pick a kick scooter for a child, make sure you choose carefully. Good luck.