How to Choose the right Bicycle for a Child

| January 11, 2014 | 3 Comments
In a few weeks or months, depending on where you live, bicycle season will be starting once again! Chances are that your kids have grown since the last time they’ve ridden, and they might be ready for a new bike. How do you know what to get, though? And how do you know what size is appropriate for your child?Before your child is 3 or 4 years old, she might not have the lower body strength or coordination to make a bicycle go forward. It will take some time for her to work out how to move her legs, and she might feel more secure on an easy-to-pedal tricycle.When the time comes to buy a bicycle, you want to consider your child’s age, coordination, height and strength. Bikes are sized by the diameter of the wheels, and are available in a few different sizes. Measure the inseam of a pair of pants that fit your child well to help you determine the appropriate size bicycle.
  • 12 inches: kids aged 3-4, 14-17” inseam
  • 14 inches: kids aged 4-6, 16-20” inseam (this size is not commonly available)
  • 16 inches: kids aged 5-8, 18-22” inseam
  • 18 inches: kids aged 6-9, 20-24” inseam (again, not commonly available)
  • 20 inches: kids aged 7-10, 22-25” inseam
  • 24 inches: kids aged 9-12, 24-28” inseam

By the time a child is 13, he or she will probably be ready for an adult-sized bicycle.

To see if the bike fits your child, have her straddle the bike. She should be able to stand, with her feet flat on the ground, in front of the seat. She should only have to tilt the bike a little bit in order to get onto the seat, and she should be able to reach the pedals comfortably, without scrunching her legs or stretching them all the way in order to complete a full rotation. Resist the temptation to buy a bike that is a little big; she will not only feel less secure and comfortable, but won’t be able to stop herself easily in a fall, raising the chances of an injury.

The smaller the bike (and the smaller the child), the more likely that she’ll need training wheels. Most bikes under 16 inches come with training wheels, and 16-inch bikes might or might not come with them factory-installed. Your son or daughter might be ready to learn to ride without training wheels as early as 4 years of age, or he or she might be closer to 6 or 8 years old. Don’t make a big fuss about it; kids learn when they’re ready. If you need to put training wheels on a 16-inch bike, then do it without making your child feel bad, as this probably won’t encourage her to want to learn.

Over the next week or so, we’ll be talking about where to shop for a bike, and also bike safety for kids, to make sure that you have all of the info you need in order to make a good decision when it comes to buying a new bicycle for your child!

Comments (3)

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  1. Free Baby Samples says:

    Great article Tina! It is always really important to get the right bike for your son or daughter to prevent injury. Just last year my son tried to get on my husbands bike and ended up spraining his wrist!
    I also wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog. It is always great to run into other Mommy Marketers!
    Thanks,
    Amanda

  2. ellyfilho says:

    Hello 🙂
    What a great post .. I tried to follow you by your RSS feed and it didnt work 🙁
    I started following you on Pinterest

  3. Jessica says:

    One tip:

    Girls won’t ride bikes as often as boys. (At least my little girl didn’t) SO spend extra on boys bike or just be prepared to take to the bike shop.

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