Is A Scooter Or Tricycle Better For Toddler

Peter Simms // Last Updated on October 2, 2023

Getting confused about whether to buy your little champ a scooter or a tricycle? Both of these rides offer fun and enjoyment for children. They help with balance, coordination, motor skill, and physical development. But the question is, “Is a scooter or tricycle better for toddler?”

It depends on your toddler’s ability whether a scooter or tricycle is better. Tricycles come with more safety features and are better for younger toddlers who are still developing balance and motor skills. In contrast, scooters are better for older toddlers with decent balance and coordination skills.

However, there is a lot more to uncover. Sit tight as I explain to you what benefits these two vehicles offer over one another. Then at the end, I will help you decide whether a tricycle or a scooter will be better for your toddler.

Scooter Vs Tricycle: Basic Differences

Scooter Vs Tricycle - Basic Differences

Basis for Comparison

Toddler Scooter

Toddler Tricycle


Narrow platform with two or three wheels

Wide platform with three wheels


Requires good balance and coordination

Offers greater stability and balance


Handlebars for steering

Handlebars or push handles for steering


Push-off with one foot

Pedals for forward propulsion

Age Range

Typically suitable for older toddlers

Suitable for a wide age range of toddlers

Motor Skills

Enhances balance and motor coordination

Develops leg strength and coordination


Lightweight and portable

Less portable due to larger size

Outdoor Terrain

Best for smooth surfaces and pavement

Handles various terrains, including grass and gravel

Safety Features

Handbrake or rear fender brake (in some models)

Stable construction and low center of gravity for enhanced safety

Skill Development

Improves balance, coordination, and motor skills

Develops pedaling and steering skills

Transition to Bicycle

Offers a stepping stone toward riding a bicycle

Provides a similar riding experience to a bicycle

Why buy a scooter over a tricycle?

Toddler scooters typically have a narrow platform with two or three wheels, a handlebar for steering, and a foot brake or rear fender brake in some models. They have a lightweight design and are easy to maneuver. It makes them suitable for younger children.

Some scooters even come with fun designs and colors that can appeal to your little one’s imagination. While comparing a scooter with a tricycle, scooters offer a lot of benefits to toddlers.

Some of the reasons why scooters are better than tricycles for toddlers:

  • Better balance development: Scooters do not come with extra wheels or protective seats for balance. Your toddler themselves needs to have a better balance to ride the scooters. As a result, it helps to develop a toddler’s balance more efficiently than tricycles.
  • Portable: Scooters have a pretty compact and lightweight design compared to tricycles. If you are traveling or want to carry the ride, then scooters are way more portable. Tricycles are bulky and heavy and not too good for carrying.
  • Builds confidence and independence: Scooters provide a sense of freedom and independence for toddlers as it does not offer extra protection to limit rider’s independence. This newfound independence can boost their self-esteem and encourage them to engage in more outdoor activities.

Why buy a tricycle over a scooter?

Why buy a tricycle over a scooter

Toddler tricycles typically feature a wider platform with three wheels, providing greater stability and balance for young riders. They come with handlebars or a push handle for steering, allowing your child to easily control the tricycle’s direction. 

Many tricycles also have pedals for forward propulsion, helping toddlers develop their leg strength and coordination. Similar to scooters, tricycles also offer a lot of benefits to children.

Some of the reasons why tricycles are better than scooters for toddlers:

  • Safety: With their three-wheel design and wider platform, tricycles provide a more stable base for toddlers. It makes them a safer option, especially for those who are still developing their balance and coordination skills. Besides, there is no protective seat in scooters, which means if your toddler fails to balance, they will fall and hurt themselves. But such risks are pretty low with tricycles as they come up with a lot of safety features.
  • Leg strength: Scooters require one leg to ride, whereas tricycles require two legs to push and move forward. Hence, tricycles are better for developing leg strength.
  • All-terrain: Due to having a wider and more stable base, tricycles are suitable for almost every type of terrain. But scooters are only good for flat and smooth terrains.

Decision making: Is a scooter or tricycle better for toddler?

The answer to the question depends on your requirements.

But I recommend buying tricycles for younger children. Toddlers at an earlier age are still developing their balance and coordination skills. At this time, scooters can be dangerous for them. But you will get a lot of safety features to keep your toddler safe.

On the other hand, if the toddler is older than 3 or years and has good balance, then you should give them a scooter. It will help them to build confidence and develop balance skills faster. But you must ensure that you can provide them with a flat and smooth surface to ride the scooter.


What age range is suitable for scooters and tricycles?

Scooters and tricycles are generally suitable for toddlers aged 2 to 5 years. However, depending on the toddler’s individual development and abilities, scooters are preferable for older ones.

Can a toddler ride a scooter without balance skills?

Scooters require a certain level of balance and coordination. Toddlers who are still developing their balance skills may find tricycles more suitable, as they offer greater stability. However, with practice and gradual skill development, many toddlers can eventually ride scooters confidently.

Do scooters or tricycles help with motor skill development?

Both scooters and tricycles contribute to motor skill development in different ways. Scooters enhance balance, coordination, and fine motor skills, while tricycles focus on leg strength, pedaling coordination, and gross motor skills. 

Are there any weight limitations for scooters and tricycles?

Are there any weight limitations for scooters and tricycles

Yes, most scooters and tricycles have weight limitations specified by the manufacturer. It varies from vehicle to vehicle. You should check the specification before buying to know whether it can carry your toddler or not.


Both scooter and tricycles have their own advantages to offer to toddlers. Although tricycles are safer, scooters are better for developing balance and confidence. Hence, depending on your toddler’s ability, make the final decision.