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What Is a Kids' Scooter?

A kids' scooter is a delightful ride-on toy that sparks joy and adventure for children. It's a two or three-wheeled vehicle, powered by little feet kicking off the ground, enhancing balance and coordination. With a variety of designs, it's a childhood staple for fun and mobility. Curious about the best scooter for your child? Let's explore the options together.
Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

A kids' scooter is a ride-on device that commonly consists of two wheels and is powered manually by pushing the scooter with one foot while the other foot is placed on a riding platform. The typical kids' scooter design uses a low-slung frame that doubles as a riding/standing platform, and a raised steering stand extends up from the front wheel to a pair of handle bars. The steering is controlled by turning the handle bars. A braking system, if present, consists of a steel bracket that is stepped on by the rider to cause the bracket to press against the rear tire. This effectively slows the kids' scooter to a controlled stop.

Made popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s in America, the kids' scooter was a precursor to the bicycle for many rural children, while it remained the primary ride-on toy for urban kids. Much easier to operate on concrete or pavement than gravel, the kids' scooter is commonly used where roller skates are worn. Some versions of the kids' scooter were available with training wheels to allow even the youngest and more unsteady rider to enjoy a ride. The typical design included solid rubber tires mounted on a stamped steel wheel, however, some of the more upscale models used wire wheels with pneumatic tires.

Young boy eating an apple
Young boy eating an apple

The softer and wider pneumatic tires made it possible to operate the kids' scooter on uneven surfaces, such as grassy lawns and even gravel roads. This model of scooter also used a refined braking system in place of the steel-on-rubber type popular on earlier versions. The soft-tired kids' scooters commonly used a stomp braking system consisting of a button near the rear of the scooter's frame. The rider simply stomped on this button and a rubber pad was directed towards the roadway, which slowed and stopped the scooter. This braking system remained the preferred method of braking by many scooter owners until the advent of hand brakes.

The handbrake first found its way onto kids' scooter models in the late 1950s. Using two rubber pads that were pressed against each side of the rear wheel by squeezing a lever mounted on the handle bars, the rider was able to stop the scooter without removing one foot from the stable platform of the foot board. This eliminated many accidents that were the result of unstable footing and unbalance caused from having to move a foot from the riding platform to the brake button.

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Discussion Comments


There are some three wheeled scooters for the kids, too. Some advanced yflicker scooters are very good for the kids to ride and these fliker scooters are safe for them, too.


@pastanaga - I don't think many kids would be using their scooters enough to do that kind of damage. If they are so eager to be using self powered transport, I'd get them onto a bike ASAP.

A scooter is great for the short term and gives little ones a great way to keep up with the rest of the family on evening walks, but a bicycle is a much better choice when it comes to wandering around all summer, or whatever your child needs his or her own transportation for.

I have great memories of wandering around town on my bike with my friends all summer. A scooter would have been better than walking, sure, but a bike will get you there in half the time and half the effort.


@umbra21 - I think kid's scooters tend to be really popular with a particular kind of adult.

I know that I've seen quite a few offices which say that they have scooters for their people to use in the buildings. I think they are the "hip" thing to do and really, they are pollution free, fun and faster than walking if you have the right kind of terrain.

One thing I've always been worried about when it comes to giving one of these to kids is that I think people tend to always use the same leg when scooting themselves around.

Surely, if a kid uses the scooter enough, that could lead to one leg becoming more powerful than the other? And I think that kind of imbalance can lead to physical problems later one.

I guess you just have to make sure your kids don't favor one leg over the other too much.


The modern scooter became really popular in the 2000's I think. For a while there you could see dozens of people on any given sidewalk using one, adults and kids alike.

Now I mostly just see kids using them, although it seems like they are much more popular than roller skates or roller blades. I guess they are easier to use.

I do still see the occasional adult using them, even occasionally on the road at times when there aren't many cars.

When it comes down to it they must be kind of annoying to use when there is any sort of crowd like there would be on a commute to work, for example. I think you are better off just walking.

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      Young boy eating an apple