Starting your child off on a balance bike is great preparation for them getting into the joy of cycling later in life. We have advice on what age a balance bike for kids makes sense, where you can practise properly, and what to think about when buying a balance bike so that our kids can explore the neighbourhood safely.
What Age Are Balance Bikes Suitable For?
Balance bikes are most suitable for children aged between 2 – 4 years. Before the age of 2, some children may not have the balance and coordination skills to handle a balance bike safely. Above 4 years and most children are ready to start cycling a peddle-driven bicycle.
The advantages of a balance bike for children
A two-wheeler balance bike without pedals not only trains the sense of balance, coordination and motor skills in children from a young age, but also makes travelling around with parents quicker and more fun. Because with the balance bike, children can move a lot faster than walking pace.
They help with developing balance and motor skills, give children a fun way to exercise, and help parents and children travel to and from school quicker.
At the same time, the increased speed raises the possibility of an accident. It makes sense, therefore, to practise riding a balance bike with your child, but the process begins with choosing the right balance bike and ensuring they have a safe and secure helmet that fits.
A further benefit of the balance bike is that it introduces children to riding without straining. On a balance bike, since the child does not have to pedal, he or she may focus solely on balancing, steering, braking in time, and reacting appropriately to risky circumstances. The balance bike prepares youngsters for later cycling by teaching them responsibility and road safety skills.
- Excellent preparation for bicycling
- Balance, coordination, and motor skill training
- Balance bikes allow families to move faster than initial interaction with traffic rules on foot.
- Judging speed and momentum
- Learn to stop in time
- Orientation training in space
When can children ride balance bikes?
The optimal age to begin balancing cycling depends on the child’s particular development. The smallest wheels can be ridden beginning at the age of two. And in terms of development, many youngsters of this age are sufficiently advanced to become acquainted with the balancing bike. Initially cautiously and in a secure setting, the vast majority of youngsters quickly learn to navigate on their own.
Whether or whether your child begins riding balance bikes at age two is a highly individualised decision. There are not only physical variations, but also mental ones: some are more daring, while others are more restrained and cautious; this has an impact on the desire to learn and the ability to ride a balance bike.
Typically, by the time they are two and a half or three years old, young children are ready for a balancing bike.
The four-wheel variants, which allow children to get experience with speed, braking, and steering, are also excellent preparation for balance cycling.
Where to Practice Riding a Balance Bike
Children should only use balancing bikes in safe settings to avoid accidents. The following sites are appropriate for balancing bike practice:
- Quiet parks
- large play areas
- empty carparks
- Level grassy areas
- Empty pedestrian zones
- Always wear a helmet
Never let a child practice on a balance bike unsupervised.
Always keep in mind that youngsters of this age become easily overwhelmed when required to respond to other road users and avoid hazards. They also lose control easily at high speeds.
For this reason, you should pay special attention to your child on downhill paths, as even on the smallest wheels, children can get very quickly and, in the worst-case scenario, fall and get severe injuries.
Martina Abel states that parents should practise balance riding with their children on big, level surfaces. Never allow children to ride unsupervised. A helmet is also recommended, not only because it prevents injuries but also because it prepares you for cycling while wearing a helmet. Parents should teach their children explicit guidelines, such as avoiding crossing roads.
Teach the STOP Rule
It is crucial for kids using balance bikes in urban areas, especially, to first listen to their parents and understand that stop means stop IMMEDIATELY. Children should also be taught about road safety from the very beginning of using a balance bike.
For us parents, riding the balancing bike for the first few weeks in the streets will require a lot of attention since we didn’t want to leave our little one to runabout out of reach in case they didn’t hear us. Select short routes to your destination with the least amount of traffic or go for a stroll beforehand.
Balance Bike Helmets
You can’t do it without a helmet, even if your child is a balance bike pro. There are many sharp edges and corners outside (such as curbs, walls, house corners, park benches, etc.) where your child could fall over while standing on a balancing bike and suffer a painful bump or cut.
A quality and good-fitting helmet can be purchased from a specialised bike shop. A children’s helmet from Uvex, which many customers have rated with 5 stars. Even if you plan to purchase online, you should still visit the shop to try the helmets on. Not every child’s head can fit into every helmet.
Nonetheless, a helmet is an essential accessory, no matter the rider’s age or skill rank.