Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean kids will be hanging up their scooters anytime soon. In some neighborhoods, we’re even scooting to school and hopefully safely.
Our partner Micro Kickboard (we love them so much!) is a brand we all have trusted and loved and owned for years, which is why we are thrilled to work with them again. (And apologies to our kids, but no, this doesn’t mean “we can get another one.”) Micro Kickboard also knows a thing or two about scooter safety for kids, because they really care about them. Hey, a lot of them are parents too. So on their behalf, we’ve put together a few scooter safety tips to help keep all our children safe and happy as they’re zipping down the street.
1. It’s all about the helmet. Of course the most important piece of safety equipment is a helmet. Head injuries are the real deal, and so wearing a helmet is even the law in many states. But even if it isn’t, you should get ahead of it. There are a number of children’s helmets on the market with fun colors and designs that kids will be more apt to wear. (Ours fight over theirs, ha.) Find the right fit and strap it on!
2. Protect elbows, knees, and hands. It may sound obvious, but these are always the first to hit the ground when a child falls. Pads for the elbows, knees, and hands are available as easy slip-ons and can be kept in a school backpack, desk, or locker when not in use. And yes, we are totally aware that there is one more area that often hits the ground, but that side comes with its own padding. Actual padding may vary. Let’s just say us moms have a little more of it.
3. It’s gotta be the shoes. Shoes aren’t just about fashion, they also protect feet from stray wheels and any number of random things on the ground that could poke, cut, or tickle the toes of your scooting child. The best shoes to wear while riding a scooter are closed-toed, thick in the sole, and should have some support in the ankle. If the shoes also happen to look really awesome, well, that’s just a bonus. It’s amazing how many kids we see scooting in flip-flops, flimsy sandals, and the ubiquitous plastic shoes which shall not be named.
4. Size matters! Not all scooters are created equal. Definitely check the height and weight suggestions or restrictions of the scooter you buy, to be sure it is the perfect one for your child. Using the right equipment is the first step in scooter safety for kids (and lots of other things, too!). Scooter manufacturers generally provide their safety suggestions based on a child’s age, with the assumption that the majority of children in that group will have similar height and weight, but we say, don’t go on that alone. Plenty of our kids fall outside those numbers, which means maybe that 3-5 year old scooter will be ideal for your six-year-old.
5. Learn to stop on a dime. This sounds cool, but it’s also an important part of scooter safety for kids. Before your kids head into high traffic areas, be sure they have the ability to stop suddenly, make quick turns, and avoid older people on walkers or carrying large bag of groceries on the sidewalk–something we once learned the hard way. (Eep.) Start slow and practice in a paved parking lot or driveway, or on a low traffic cul-de-sac before sending them out into the real world.
There’s time for learning a bunnyhop, ollie, or kick-out later. But first? Stopping.
6. There’s safety in numbers. This is always a good rule of thumb, the more the merrier and all that. Whenever possible send kids off on their scoot to school with friends, siblings, or assorted classmates. Not only is it fun to spend time with other kids, but it also makes the children much more visible to those cars. Also, the pack looks out for its own, and yes, we just compared kids to a group of wild animals.
7. Handle street and sidewalk traffic with your eyes, not just your body. Things may be quieter where you live during the summer, but once school starts up, the neighborhood does too. More people on the sidewalks means more obstacles, but don’t let that keep you from scooting like the wind. Shouting a friendly on your left! before passing a pedestrian can help keep bumps, bruises, and a few choice words to a minimum.
One of the tricks we teach our own kids, whether they’re crossing the street on foot or on two or three wheels, is to make eye contact with the driver at the stop sign. You see the driver – the driver sees you. Then you can give a little wave to acknowledge “hey thanks, I’m going to cross now” and be sure that you’re both on the same page. Smiles help too.
Thanks to our sponsor Micro Kickboards scooters and helmets, which are built kid-tough for fun and safety.