As parents, we want to do what’s best for our children. We want to give them all the toys, tools and activities that they need in order to grow into the respectable men and women that we hope they will eventually become.
We also want to help foster their initial interests so we can start them out on a path that will lead to prosperity and eventual success.
Oh, and we want them to have fun, lots and lots and lots of fun — because nothing in this world is better than putting a smile on your four-year-old’s face, even if it’s in between temper tantrums.
But, often times, in order for them to learn, grow and have as much fun as possible, we have to let them do a few things on their own. We have to let them act a little bit like us. And what better way to do that than to allow them to ride wild and drive around in their very own pedal cars?
“What’s a kids pedal car?” you ask.
Here’s what you need to know…
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Kids’ Pedal Cars: Four Wheels of Freedom, Fun and Budding Affirmation
If your kids have been having fun with balance bikes, they will most certainly love pedal cars! A young parent once described pedal cars for kids as being, “tricked out trikes with an extra wheel.” Essentially, what this dad was trying to say was that kids’ pedal cars are probably the coolest way for any young kid to get around (at least before they get old enough to ride other cool vehicles, like kids dune buggies).
Shaped like real vehicles, and pushed by the power of pedaling feet, pedal cars for kids give young riders the ability to develop their gross motor skills while enjoying that increased freedom of movement that we all so often crave.
Not only that, but pedal cars for kids come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and styles. A fire engine. A police cruiser. A hot rod. Whichever personality your child might possess — a gentleman, a debutante — there’s likely a customized pedal car to fit their sprouting identity.
“But how do I know what kind of kids pedal car to purchase?” you may wonder.
Here are a few things to think about…
Four Features to Consider When Purchasing Kids’ Pedal Cars
1) Age Range:
As the popular saying goes, “Age is only a number.” And in the case of kids’ ride on toys, it’s more of a guideline than a rule really. And it’s not always about how big they are either. Sure, their size should be taken into account, but, more often than not, a product’s age range is more about the child’s maturity level — what they can and cannot do — more than anything else. So it’s important to keep them and their abilities in mind when purchasing pedal cars for kids.
2) Size/Weight Limit:
Vehicles are only fun and fully functional when you can fit in them properly. (That’s why Shaquille O’Neil will never be caught dead driving a Mini Cooper — though it’s funny to imagine.)
If your child is well over the weight limit, not only are they likely to sit uncomfortably in the seat, but, even if they do fit, they’re likely to wear down the wheels and bend the axle while riding around, which results in an early trash chucking for their new favorite toy. Length is important as well. If you’re kid is too tall, their legs will be too long and they won’t be able to pedal properly. Conversely, if they’re too short, they might not be able to pedal at all. So be sure to check the pedal car’s weight limit as well as its dimensions before pulling out your credit card.
Not all pedal cars for kids are made the same. Some manufacturers put a premium on protection while others let security slide in exchange for cheap materials and shoddy craftsmanship. Lead free paint. Adjustable pedals. Seatbelt. A steel frame. Functional steering. Easy to use. Safe. These are the kinds of words that you want to be on the lookout for when considering your child’s first — or even third — pedal car.
As previously mentioned, kids’ pedal cars come in a wide variety of designs, with just as many adornments. If your kid is the kind to race around the house making noises like a revving engine, then you might want to consider a hotrod style pedal car. Or, if she’s more into maintaining the law, you’ll probably want to think about one that looks a little more like a police cruiser. Either way, it’s important to know their interests so that you can help foster their emerging individuality.
So now that we know what kids’ pedal cars are and what to look for when buying one, it’s time to take a test drive and find out which one is perfect for your little guy or gal.
Here are a few of our favorites..
The Six Best Toy Pedal Cars for Kids
InStep Fire Truck Pedal Car
Size/Weight: Its assembled dimensions are 37 x 12 x 17 inches. It holds a maximum weight of 70 lbs. And, conveniently, it boasts a pair of adjustable pedals, ideal for accommodating a wider variety of child sizes.
Safety: The InStep Fire Truck Pedal Car has a solid steel frame which makes it a rather durable little vehicle. Its paint is lead-free and it comes coupled with an easy-to-use steering wheel.
Style: From the fireman-themed decals — Engine No. 7, Fire and Rescue — to the ladders affixed to its sides, to the bell on its hood that rings with every turn, to the bright red paint that coats its sturdy body, this kids pedal car is perfect for your brave little hero.
Additional Information: Some assembly is required. To keep the paint from fading, it’s best to store the InStep Fire Truck in the garage — or another covered area — if at all possible.
InStep Police Pedal Car
Size/Weight: Its assembled dimensions are 37 x 12 x 17 inches. It holds a maximum weight of 70 lbs. Also, just like the Fire Truck, its pedals can be adjusted to accommodate a wider variety of child sizes.
Safety: Its solid steel construction keeps your kid secure within the driver’s seat as well as adds to its overall durability and its easy-to-control steering wheel makes it easy for your little one to use. Its rather stylish paint job is also lead-free.
Style: Although there are no sirens, your kid will still feel pretty cool riding around in this retro-looking police cruiser. Its rubber tires and chrome-plated hubcaps give it a grown-up kind of vibe and its police-themed decals — To Serve and Protect, Metro City’s Finest — paired with its black-and-white paint job, give it that authentic look and feel, an awesome accessory for any future lawman.
Additional Information: Some assembly is required. Child may experience tough pedaling when climbing up hills or over rough terrain, so keep a watchful eye.
InStep Pink Lady Pedal Car
Size/Weight: Its assembled dimensions are 37 x 12 x 17 inches. It holds a maximum weight of 70 lbs. And, just like its InStep siblings, the pedals are adjustable to accommodate a wider variety of child sizes.
Safety: With such a vibrant paint job one might think that this car was toxic, and possibly even delicate. But, with its steel frame design and lead-free paint, parents can rest assured that their little ones will be well protected. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s silver steering wheel is simply designed and easy-to-use.
Style: Before orange became the new black, pink was all the rage. That’s why this vintage-style pedal car is perfect for all the little girls out there who want to ride around like old school movie stars. And since it comes with a customizable decal package, your little Marilyn Monroe can be sure that everyone knows exactly who she is while cruising around the neighborhood.
Additional Information: Some assembly is required. Depending on the strength of your child’s legs, it might take some time before they’re able to ride the Pink Pedal Car with continuous ease.
InStep Street Rod Pedal Car
Size/Weight: Its assembled dimensions are 37 x 12 x 17 inches. It holds a maximum weight of 70 lbs. And, yes, the chorus repeats once again. The pedals are adjustable. You get the idea.
Safety: As with its InStep brethren, the Street Rod Pedal car is constructed from solid steel and painted with a lead-free paint, offering a fume free ride and a durable design. It also offers the freedom of easy-to-use functional steering.
Style: Black in the back. Flames in the front. This little hotrod is so hot, you might have to buy the InStep Fire Truck just to make sure it doesn’t burn down the whole neighborhood. All joking aside though, this little pedal car should only be bought for the coolest dudes and dudettes. With its retro style and its chrome-plated hubcaps, your neighbors won’t know what to do when they see your little speed demon rolling down the road.
Additional Information: Some assembly is required. Might take a few drives around the block before this kids pedal car can settle in for the smoothest ride.
Kettler Cat Kid Tractor
Size/Weight: Its assembled dimensions are 31 x 18 x 16 inches. It holds a maximum weight of 50 lbs.
Safety: How’s this for durability? The frame of the Kettler Cat Kid Tractor is made from a high impact resin body and it rolls on a set of sturdy oversized rubberized wheels with realistic tractor-like tread. With those kinds of specifications, it’s almost as heavy-duty as its real life equivalent — at least by our kids’ standards anyway.
Style: This kids pedal car is for all the hardworking youngsters out there. Built like a real life tractor — same color, same design — this bad boy boasts a fully functional front loader — to haul dirt, snow or whatever else — as well as a detachable hauling trailer – to tow toys, books or, for the more helpful hands, even laundry.
Additional Information: Assembly is required — and somewhat difficult thanks to a less-than-friendly instruction manual.
Radio Flyer Steer ‘N Stroll Coupe
Size/Weight: Its assembled dimensions are 31 x 17 x 21.5 inches and it holds a maximum weight of 42 lbs.
Safety: In addition to its fully adjustable push handle, which makes it safe and easy for mom, dad or older brother to push it along, it also comes equipped with an adjustable seatbelt just in case things get a little crazy.
Style: Even though this isn’t technically a pedal car, we included it anyways, just for the sake of variety — and because it’s so darn cool.
Designed like a race car, with a chrome-colored gas cap and fully functional door, it has all the makings of a really good time. Kids can drive it alone — like Fred or Wilma Flintstone — mom and dad can push it, or your little one can stand outside and push one of their friends. The footrest slides back and forth, for comfort and added convenience — you can store stuff inside of it — and the driving console honks, revs and plays music, just like a real car.
Additional Information: Assembly is required. Batteries are not included — requires 3 AA’s. Wheels don’t work so well on non-flat surfaces. Keep that in mind.
Pedal Cars for Kids: In Conclusion
Pedal cars for kids come in a wide variety of styles and sizes, with a multitude of different age restrictions and safety features in place. Ultimately it’s up to you to decide which one fits best with your little one’s wants and needs — or, of course, you could just randomly select one of our six recommendations and hope for the best — but either way, we were happy to be by your side.