Why and how to buy Toddler Ride on Toys? Guide With 5 fun Facts

Last Updated on April 6, 2024

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.

Click on the Titles for the DadProgress Ride-on toy Reviews

Best Ride On Toy For One-Year-Old

Best Ride On Toy For Two-Year-Old

Best Toddler Tricycles

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 for 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 the blink of an eye, he is chewing electrical cords, pushing buttons on 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 one 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.

Brief History


Early History

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 has been around for 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 still makes superb toys for children. They started to make carts out of steel already in 1927.

Ride On Toy History

The picture above, from a French shopping catalog, illustrates the variety of ride-on toys in the 19th century. 

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.

For Example

  • It means that ride on toys for children under the age of two should not contain small parts
  • Babies use ride on toys (at least our boy is) as walking aids. So stability is especially important for new walkers
  • Don’t buy your little buddy a powered ride on toy if he doesn’t yet understand it

Ride-on toys account for approximately 35 percent of injuries among kids younger than 18 (source). 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.

BPA Is A Celebrity

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. But…it probably has no adverse health risks in your toddler’s toy (source). One reason 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!

For example, many people concerned with BPA are smokers. Take five seconds and think about it. Passive smoking is a lot more harmful to toddlers than plastic ride-on toys. Quitting smoking would be the best thing to improve their and their children’s health.

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.

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?

Winnie the Pooh
Giant Winnie The Pooh sitting in the corner

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.

Something Fun

I wrote a quick guide on ride on toys. Read about the history, vintage designs (like rocking horses) and take a look at the five fun facts. #rideontoy #toy #toddler #fun #toyhistory

  • The largest hand-carved wooden rocking horse weighs 1,200 pounds. Three adults can ride it together at one time
  • In 2006 jeweler Ginza Tanaka made a 24-carat gold rocking horse as a tribute to the birth of Prince Hisahito. It weighs about 80 pounds and at a time cost over 1.2 million dollars
  • Gold is very stable and easy to clean. So it’s logical why Jay-Z and Beyonce went with gold when buying a ride on toy for their daughter. Their rocking horse cost about 600 000 dollars in 2012
  • The oldest surviving rocking horse has been dated to 1610, and it belonged to Charles I
  • One of the biggest pedal car collections contains over 400 pedal cars. This collection belongs to entrepreneur Phil Collins (UK)