Best Electronic Ride On Toy Buying Guide
Kids love rides. From the day they were born to the day they learned to walk, they loved riding in your arms or in the baby sling or backpack you carried them in. You might have calmed them a couple of times by taking them for a spin in your car until they fell asleep or rocked them in your rocking chair until they were soothed. When they were babies, motion was comfort.
When they get a little older and increasingly mobile, they start enjoying motion for the thrill it gives them. It starts with the fun piggy back ride on dad’s back, or that caboose ride in the mall train, or going round and round in a carousel. You might notice them enjoying push toys and self-propelled ride on toys.
The ultimate gift of motion, though, will forever be the electronic ride on toy. Low-riding, slow moving, and ranging from the rugged to the super sleek, your child will be attracted to them and will start pointing at them soon enough. They will love the independence of being able to control the direction of a toy vehicle that is powered by a force other than from themselves. So, if you think it is time for your child to have his first electronic ride on toy, we have prepared this guide for choosing the right model based on their features and your child’s age.
Age of Child
● 24 months and below
Believe it or not, there are electronic ride on toys for your toddler who is 24 months or below. At this age he has just learned to walk steadily, but unfamiliar uneven terrain could still trip him up. He is learning balance and steadily developing his gross motor skills. You may notice also that he is more prone to expressing himself loudly – this is because he is curious about things and he may not know how to tell you yet. And what he’s trying to tell you is that he wants to drive a car like mommy and daddy.
The thought of giving him an electronic ride on toy might give you pause. What if he can’t control it? What if he falls off? What if he gets injured? These are all legitimate concerns. But they can be mitigated by choosing a ride on toy that is low and stable like the ones designed for toddlers 2 years old below. Aside from being low (which allows a small child to easily get on and off), electronic ride on toys for little toddlers have a push button power switch and go up to 2 mph – that’s as fast as a brisk walk. The slow speed and on-off button lets your toddler control the direction of his vehicle without having to think about controlling the speed too. And the fun part is that he can learn to balance himself while having an external force move him forward.
● 2 to 4 years
By this age, your child has developed sufficient motor skills to be able to coordinate stepping on a pedal and steering a wheel. He is a master of balance and he has a super powerful imagination. When he explores the world, he has the ability to carry out what he imagined in his mind and so he is less frustrated. He knows what he wants and he knows how to ask for it or get it himself. And at 2 to 4 years of age, he wants to drive a bigger car with a pedal he can step on.
It’s time to get rid of the little push button electronic car that you bought him. This time he will want a car that looks like yours – or maybe one that looks like a tractor, or a jeep, or a dump truck! Fortunately, the rides available to kids at this age have a real wide range of choices. They have a pedal so that your child can start his car at will and he can go as fast as 6mph now. Don’t worry though, the vehicle breaks automatically if he lifts his foot from the pedal. He will also be able to let a sibling or a friend come along for a ride because some electric ride on toys for kids this age have extra seating. But take heed, electronic ride on toys for kids at this age are meant to be driven indoors, on carpet, or on grass. It can be driven on concrete, but it is best to limit them to enclosed spaces for safety.
● 5 to 7 years
At this age, your kid is starting to feel less like a baby and more like a big kid. You will notice his preferences are changing and he might no longer like his electronic toy car. He is very skilled now, and he wants to go faster, and cars for his age are just that.
For children 5 to 7 years, electronic ride on toys start looking like exact replicas of bigger cars. Or, if your child no longer wants a small version of a car, he might want to have an ATV or a Go-cart. The last two options are not toys and may be driven on concrete pavements outside. So it is up to you to decide if your child has sufficient maturity for them. You know him best.
● 7 and Up
For big kids aged 7 and up, they will probably feel too old for toy cars and will definitely tend towards ATVs, Go Carts, and small scooters. While these cars are beyond the scope of our review below, it is still worth mentioning these options for your bigger kid. If you choose to go for one of these vehicles, choose one that is battery powered so that it doesn’t go too fast. Going at a slower speed will first allow your child to learn proper balance and steering. In addition, battery powered ones do not release fumes into the air which will be harmful to your young one. Choose one that grips well for safety.
What are the features to consider when looking for an electronic ride on toy?
Whatever your child’s age, there will be so many choices for an electronic ride on toy. It is important, then, to be very discerning because some are better – or should we say, safer – than others. So when you are shopping, check for the following features.
● Weight Limit
Once your child is above two years old and has graduated from push button electronic ride on toys, his weight will be the best indication of whether the vehicle you are buying him is appropriate or not. Because the rate at which kids grow differ from child to child, you want to choose an electronic ride on toy that has an upper weight limit as far from your child’s current weight as possible while still being in the speed that matches his ability. Needless to say, don’t purchase an electronic ride on toy that your kid will be too heavy for even if he still fits in it.
Most electronic ride on toys are low to the ground. But as a guideline, do not buy a ride that is too high for your child to get in and out of. Being able to easily get in and out helps your child’s confidence in using his toy car and accidentally falling from a low height is unlikely to hurt him. What you want is a toy that he could play with on his own and lets you supervise him without having to assist him too much.
The slowest electronic ride on toys for the youngest of children runs at 2 mph. This is the speed of a brisk walk and will undoubtedly be too slow for your little aspiring driver in no time. When they graduate from the push button car, it is ok to start with a maximum speed of 6 mph. Slow speeds are important, especially if this is to be your child’s first car, for them to learn how to steer with safety.
● Automatic Braking
When your child starts with a car that allows him to control his speed with a pedal, you will want one that automatically slows to a stop when he lifts his foot. Most electronic ride on toys designed for the ages of 2 to 7 do this and will be appreciated by the child who is yet unable to coordinate accelerating and then braking. Big kids on the upper age limit – those who are 5 to 7 years old – will more likely be able to handle two pedals. In this case, automatic breaking won’t be as necessary and there are some cars for their age range that will not have this feature.
● Safety Belts
Safety first! Cars that go at a maximum speed of 6 mph and above should have safety belts even though it is unlikely that a child will get thrown off his car. We are sure your little ones wouldn’t mind buckling up as they drive since they have used seatbelts before. And anyway, having seatbelts while he is driving his toy car sends a consistent message that you must always buckle up when you’re in a moving vehicle.
● Indoor or Outdoor Car
After some time, your child will probably get bored from driving indoors and will want to go outside to test his skills. But most electronic ride on toys that are designed for the 2 to 4 year old market will run at a maximum speed of 6 mph. This means that they do not have sufficient power to drive outdoors and address an uphill pavement. If you want to give your little one the experience of outdoor driving – in a very safe location, preferably in a residential area where there is extremely low vehicular traffic – you might want to go for a car that allows two speeds. This way, they can power up when they need to go at a slight incline.
If you choose to go the way of getting a car with two speeds, make sure that your child masters driving his electronic car at the slower speed first. Then let him drive at the faster speed in his designated enclosed space. And since he will be driving outdoors at faster than 6 mph, it will be a good idea to make sure that he agrees to wear a helmet.
Not all electronic ride on toys have horns and they are not really important for driving indoors. However, having a horn is fun for little kids and completes the driving experience for them. If your kid drives outdoors, then you will want a car that has a horn because it warns other people of his presence. Again, and we cannot emphasize this enough, if your child is driving outdoors make sure that he is in a residential area with very little to no vehicular traffic.
● Mp3 Player
You probably remember having an electronic ride on toy of your own but that one sure didn’t have an mp3 player! Imagine how much a few years has upped the cool factor on electronic cars these days! With all features being present and falling under the same price range, we say pick the one with an mp3 player. Your child will enjoy playing his own jam while driving in his very own car.
We are absolutely in love with the ultra-cool Fisher Price Power Wheels Dune Racer. With two speeds and maximum carrying capacity of 130 lbs, your kids will enjoy this for a very long time and will probably get sentimental about it the day they get too big for it (which won’t be too soon). Read about its awesome features here. Is it not to your child’s taste? Then it’s a good thing that we at ParentsNeed HQ reviewed a lot of electric toy vehicles and came up with the Top 5 best electronic ride on toys for your kids. We are certain that at least one of them will appeal to your child’s sense of style and will make them excited to beep, beep, and go!