In what seems like a whirlwind of time, your baby is sitting, standing, and walking around. You’ve finally made it through the stages of infancy and now have a full-blown toddler. Congratulations! However, soon the challenges morph from frequent feeding times and diapering issues to how you’re going to keep a busy new walker entertained. The toddler ride on toys may be the answer here.
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Keep Your Toddler Entertained- Personal Experience
At the moment of writing our baby can almost walk, and it's already impossible to keep him amused.
He refuses to play in a pack and play longer than 5 minutes. Apparently, we're insulting his free spirit with this... When he is released to the wilderness of our apartment, then his regular toys don't even deserve a glance. In a blink of an eye, he is chewing electrical cords, pushing buttons of my receiver and trying to break the internet router.
Luckily we have a big red car in the corner, and this is one of the few toys (this and teethers) that interest him. At the moment he's not yet able to sit on it, but at least he can slam the car against the wall...again and again:)
Luckily for all dads, ride on toys are popular with both children and toy manufacturers alike. Finding a suitable toddler ride on toy can be tricky though. This guide will help you to make a better decision.
What To Look For In A Ride On Toy
Stability: How hard is it to tip this toy over with a tiny tot on board? Is it difficult for an unbalanced babe to keep it upright? The more stable, the better.
Materials: Wood and metal are generally more durable, but also more expensive. Plastic toys are cheaper and lighter. Less weight means that they may be less stable, but at least your toddler is unlikely to get hurt when he falls. Plastic is usually easier to clean.
Many parents treat plastic toys skeptically because of BPA, but there's no need. You can read more about BPA by scrolling down.
Assembly: Is assembly required? Most toddler ride on toys need assembling, but this shouldn't take too much of your time.
Longevity of use: What are the weight limits? Can this toy grow with a kid or is it a short-use item only? Some toys are suitable just for one or two-year-olds, others you can use for many years.
Power: Is it powered solely by the child riding it? Do parents have to push it? Are there batteries involved? Is it a hybrid of the three?
Space: Some ride on toys need a lot of room for playing. Your favorite ride on toy may be suitable only for indoor or outdoor use. A toddler ride on toy may be big and not easy to storage if your child gets bored. It may become something like the giant Winnie-The-Pooh, we have in the corner- an odd interior decoration item.
Brief History Of Ride On Toys
As a toy type ride on toys is very old. In the 14th century, horses were made for children so they could re-enact jousting games. Gradually rocking horses were developed. Rocking horses as a toy have been around over 400 years.
Toy wagons have been around since the 19th century. One classical example is the Radio Flyer red wooden wagon. Radio Flyer was founded in 1917 in Chicago and is still making superb toys for children. They started to make carts out of steel already in 1927.
The picture above illustrates the variety of ride on toys in the 19th century. It is from a french shopping catalog.
After The Second World War
After the second world war, things got more interesting for children. New technology and materials like plastics became available for toy manufactures. People also had more money to spend.
It is hard to say who made the first plastic ride on toy. We know that plastic pedal cars were introduced already in the 1970s. After that metal was rarely used.
Benefits Of The Ride On Toys
As I have mentioned the most important purpose is to keep your child occupied so you can have a moment of peace.
That said, ride on toys have some health benefits for children. They help to build coordination, balance and motor skills. Different colors, shapes, textures, and sounds (many are battery powered) can all help your kid to learn.
Safety Of Toddler Ride On Toys
Toddler ride on toys have many benefits, but they should be age-appropriate.
Ride-on toys account for approximately 35 percent of injuries among kids younger than 18. A large part of accidents is related to foot-powered scooters. So bigger children who play with scooters should always wear a helmet.
Is BPA Bad For Your Toddler's Health?
Many chemicals are used to make plastics, and Bisphenol A (BPA) is a celebrity among them.
Manufacturers use BPA for making some plastics. BPA has hormone-like properties, which means, it can interact with living organisms.
BPA is an environmental concern (as are all plastics), that's a fact. That said, it probably has no adverse health risks in your toddler's toy. One of the reasons is that the amounts used are too small.
We live in a polluted environment and obsessing about BPA is futile. If you want your children to be healthy, then start with basics.
Children need healthy food, exercise, and age-appropriate toys!
It's worth mentioning that many people concerned with BPA are smokers. Take five seconds and think about it. Passive smoking is a lot more harmful to toddlers than are plastic ride on toys. Quitting smoking would be the best thing to improve their and their children's health.