Electric Scooters For Kids: Are They Safe?
| Gerald Fisher
It certainly isn’t hard for kids to get swept up in the excitement of getting on top of an electric scooter and zipping around like they were living in the time of ‘The Jetsons’.
As a responsible parent though, there are always going to be questions about the safety of electric scooters.
Anytime you’re talking about children hopping on top of a motorised vehicle and zooming around, there are going to be risk factors in play – but determining whether or not scooters are safe enough for your child to use is something you need to weigh independently.
Armed with the details we share below, hopefully you’ll have a better idea of how safe electric scooters can be when used correctly!
Should You Let Your Children Ride Electric Scooters?
Right out of the gate, it’s important to understand that electric scooters can be as safe – or as dangerous – as the individual operator chooses to use them.
The electric scooter technology available today has advanced by leaps and bounds in just the last few years. The scooters themselves are safer than ever before. We are talking about better brakes, improved speed restriction capabilities, and updated balance control features – all of which make the scooters increasingly safer for children, including those that haven’t ridden one before.
For example, the Raine One electric scooter has been designed with a wide deck, which makes it easier for riders to find a safe, comfortable and well-balanced stance. They’ve also included a speed limiter, so a max speed can be set before anyone gets onto the scooter.
Of course, a big piece of the safety puzzle is first making sure that the scooter itself is age appropriate for your child. Most manufacturers agree that children younger than eight years of age should probably only ever use these scooters under direct supervision of a parent or adult, or even while a parent or adult is on the scooter at the same time.
Children older than eight have a variety of different scooter options available to them, with the best scooters available on the market including speed restrictions, gyroscopic balance technology, and other features that allow you to “scale up or scale down” the capabilities of the scooter to match the age and experience of your child.
Secondly, you’ll want to make sure that you are providing your child with the right safety gear and equipment.
Just as you wouldn’t allow your young child loose on a bicycle without a helmet or training wheels when learning how to ride a bike, you wouldn’t allow your child loose on an electric scooter and simply hope for the best!
High-quality helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, and even lightweight protectors (including those that have been integrated with athletic clothing), are all smart choices for young children using electric scooters for the very first time.
The right shoes also play a big part in the safety of your child on an electric scooter. Athletic shoes with rubber soles that offer a little bit of extra grip are typically the best option. Those that have some type of fastening solution other than shoelaces are also a great choice – though tightly tied shoelaces that won’t drag are definitely another option.
What Safety Precautions Should You Take Before Letting Your Kids on an Electric Scooter?
In addition to making sure that an electric scooter is safe for children, there are also a couple of safety precautions that you can implement to help make sure that the electric scooter riding experience is a lot safer.
For starters, a proper safety check of the scooter itself should be conducted every time you’re going to let your child ride that scooter around.
Now, this definitely isn’t the most fun thing to do every single time your child is going to get on top of the scooter and zip up and down the road. But going through this “pre-ride checklist” of sorts, is definitely going to make sure that you all spend a lot more time enjoying the scooter, and a lot less time in the emergency room.
Pre-ride checklist for an Electric Scooter includes a quick:
- Visual inspection to make sure that nothing is loose, nothing appears broken, and there’s nothing that would impede the scooter itself;
- Check to make sure that the electric battery system has been totally recharged and is ready to go;
- Check of the tyres to make sure that they are fully inflated, free of obstructions, and have plenty of tread to grip the surface your child will be zipping across; and
- Inspection of the handle bars to make sure they are tight, easily controllable, and can go through their full range of motion without difficulty.
And that should be more than enough to get you up and running safely!
It might not be a bad idea for you to do a little bit of a test ride yourself, just to make sure everything is working before you hand the reins over to your child.
This will give you a lot more confidence in the safety and stability of the scooter, as well as let you get ahead of issues that your child might not know how to handle on the fly.
Can Teenagers Use Adult Electric Scooters?
In most circumstances, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with age-appropriate teenagers to confidently use adult electric scooters – so long as they have had a little bit of experience using these kinds of scooters in the past, and are wearing safety protection.
Now, obviously you wouldn’t want to turn the reins of an adult electric scooter (and all the power that might bring to the table) to a 13-year-old child without a lot of experience. But the difference between a 17-year-old getting on top of an electric scooter designed for individuals aged 18+, isn’t going to be that significant.
You’ll obviously want to use your discretion before you give the green light. But in most circumstances, there really isn’t anything wrong with letting a teenager stretch their wings a little bit on an electric scooter that adults would also feel comfortable on.
What Features Should Parents Look For When Buying an Electric Scooter for their Child?
While there are all kinds of things you want to think about before you buy an electric scooter for a child, some features are more important than others – and we highlight the most important ones below.
It can be tough to find an electric scooter today – for children or adults – that has enough battery power.
Battery power is obviously the lifeblood of these kinds of scooters, so you’ll want as much “juice” available as you can get. This will help the scooter last as long as possible on a single charge.
You also want the latest lithium-ion battery technology so that the power on your electric scooter doesn’t dwindle as the battery life does, instead providing a constant flow of energy whether the battery is at 100% or 1%.
Again, you’ll want to look for a scooter that has plenty of battery life to offer as much range as possible – there’s nothing worse than riding along on your electric scooter, only for the battery to be drained after 15 minutes of riding.
Although you don’t want a battery range that offers them the opportunity to get clear across town – or even further – on a single charge, you also don’t want them to feel like they can only scoot down to the end of the road and back before their scooter dies.
To ensure there’s more time for riding, and less time waiting for the scooter to recharge (that’s never fun), it’s a good idea to invest in a scooter with a higher range. We therefore recommend finding a scooter that has a minimum range of 30km, which is about 2 hours of riding, then teaching your child not to exceed the boundaries of the “safety bubble” you’ve created for them.
Maximum Speed Restrictor
Finding an electric scooter for children with a maximum speed restrictor that you can infinitely adjust on the fly – cranking up or down, depending on the age/experience of your child – is a huge benefit.
Not all electric scooters are going to provide this kind of capability, but thankfully more than enough of the top options on the market today do include this as a central component. This allows parents to purchase electric scooters that may be a little bit more powerful than what their child can handle right now (leaving room for them to “grow into” the scooter), while still making sure that they stay safe on that scooter.
Conclusion on Electric Scooters for Kids
At the end of the day, electric scooters are perfectly safe for children when you as a parent exercise good judgment, teach safety habits, and invest in building their skills and abilities with the scooter while making them wear safety equipment.
As long as you leverage the details we highlighted above, use some good old-fashioned common sense, and a little bit of parental discretion, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about when it comes to getting on top of electric scooters with your children and cruising around together!
** Please note that some states/countries have a minimum riding age for electric scooter riders. Please check with your local council for details.