Pedal kids for kids are ride-on cars that do not run on batteries; instead one has to pedal to move the car ahead. These are great development toys and popular with boys and girls of all ages, from young toddlers up. It’s recommended that the kids wear shoes when riding these pedal cars, just for the sake of safety.
History of the Pedal Car
The first toy pedal cars hit the market in the 1890s soon after German engineers Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler filed for their automobile patents in 1886.
However, these pedal cars were still expensive and only kids from well-to-do-families could ride them.
Things changed from the 1950s onwards as these pedal cars became somewhat cheaper and the middle class had some more disposable cash; as a result, more kids were seen using pedal cars. In addition to pedal cars, pedal car manufacturers also made other kids’ toys such as pedal planes, trucks, trains and tricycles.
For close to a century since they were first made, pedal cars were constructed using a wooden chassis and steel frames, which made very sturdy as well as heavy, and these were built to last for ages (you could still find a perfectly usable vintage pedal car at an auction).
Vintage kids pedal cars (Image source: Monovisions)
It was from the 1970s onwards that toy makers started using plastic to make pedal cars, in order to make them lighter and cheaper. Today, you will find pedal cars that are significantly lighter and some of these can even be used by toddlers.
Over the years, pedal cars have changed in style as they incorporate several automotive design elements such as working lights, horns, windshields, chrome detailing (and even custom paint jobs). Just like most wooden toys, steel (metal) pedal cars remain a favorite of children all over.
Introduction to Modern Pedal Cars
Toys seek inspiration from the real world, and as such, the pedal car is also inspired by real cars that are seen on the streets.
Pedal cars for kids do not have a built-in motor; instead, the child has to manually pedal the car to control the speed of the car. Pedal Cars provide boys and girls (aged 3 to 5 years) the opportunity to drive like mom and dad.
Features of pedal cars
- Made of plastics (especially the ones that are made for the young kids); designed to be low to the ground, are safe to use and do not go very fast. Pedal cars for the older kids are designed to move at higher speed, they are sturdier, and may use metal parts.
- These cars work better on smoother surfaces and can be difficult to pedal on gravel or uneven surfaces.
- Pedal cars do not have any braking mechanism; the bottom of a pedal car is wide-open and the kid stops the car by putting his feet down (that is the brake for this car). So, kids should avoid inclined surfaces and stay away from streets and driveways.
Excellent for Physical Development
Pedal Cars (similar to pedal go-carts) are excellent toys for physical development and to stimulate wild imaginations; these provide children a good way to release their energy, get exercise, and provide hours of fun.
These cars can be used indoor as well as outdoor. The development of the child’s motor skills through these cars will help the child later for riding bikes as well.
Difference between a pedal car and a pedal go-kart
In terms of the way they operate, there is not much difference between a pedal car a pedal go-kart; both needs to be propelled using the pedal.
The main difference is in their design. Most pedal cars have retro/vintage designs, whereas a go-kart is designed like a go-kart. Also, a pedal car works best on smoother surfaces.
However, a pedal go-kart (also known as Kids Off Road Pedal Car) is likely to appeal more to a grown up child, and it is also likely to come with better tires (pneumatic tires) that will perform well on uneven terrains. Pedal go-karts designed for older kids; these are bigger and heavier pedal cars and come with better braking system that ensures safety of your child. These pedal cars also allow the rider to pedal in reverse.
Pedal Car Safety
- Pedal Cars have no automatic breaks; they are stopped using the feet. So avoid inclined surfaces.
- Request other kids not to push the Pedal Car when a child is already seated in the peal car. The driver’s legs and feet may get tangled up in the pedal assembly and cause injury.
- Pedal Cars have exposed pedal mechanisms (inside the Pedal Car’s body). The child’s clothing could get entangled in the pedal mechanism (similar to how loose clothing can get caught in a bicycle’s chain).
- Like with any other ride-on-toys, adults should be around the child when s/he is riding the pedal car.
- Pedal Cars have no floorboards (open bottom). It’s better to wear shoes when riding the car in order to avoid foot injury. Shoes will also help get a better grip on the pedals while riding the car.
Pedal Car: Buying Tips
You get sweet and cute looking little cars that kids can use to have lots of fun; a much better sight than seeing their faces glued to a game screen.
Different brands of toy ride-on pedal cars are available for kids, and these can cost any where from under $100 to up to $1000.
Every pedal car manufacturer provides specifications for the product such as recommended age, weight and at times even height. This is a quick way to check if the pedal car is fit for your child or not.
Once those things match, you may take a look at the other features offered by the pedal car. For example, is the pedal car designed for off-road use, and so on.
More things to keep in mind:
- Buy something that is suited for the age and weight of the child. If it’s too big, the child will not be able to use it well, too small and it could break down.
- Most pedal cars also provide a recommended height range so you can be sure the child will be able to reach the pedals and steering wheel.
- Some pedal cars also come with an adjustable seat, which allows longer use of the pedal car.
- Plastic pedal cars tend to be cheaper, lighter and are more suited for younger, lighter riders. Metal pedal cars are stronger, heavier and more suited for older kids.
- Most pedal cars use solid tires that do not need air.
Best Pedal Cars (At a Glance)
- Morgan Cycle Retro Style Pedal Car: Best High-end
- Little Tikes Sport Racer: Best Mid-range
- Instep Kids Toddler Push & Pedal Ride-on Toy Car: Best Inexpensive
Best Vintage Ride-on Pedal cars for Kids
Adults love vintage cars, and when it comes to ride-on cars, even kids don’t mind riding vintage cars so long as they are easy to ride, fun to use, and provides a sense of adventure.
While the original vintage cars are expensive, metal (steel) pedal cars designed to look like vintage cars are available for fraction of the cost, and they look as beautiful as the vintage cars.
These cars feature all-metal construction, adjustable non-slip pedals, solid rubber tires, and safe powder coat paint.
Morgan Cycle, Baghera (French brand) are some brands that create some cool retro-styled vintage ride-on pedal cars.
Morgan Cycle Retro Style Pedal Car
The Morgan Cycle vintage/retro pedal riding car looks stylish, provides loads of fun to kids, and can be used in the playroom or in the hallway. Recommended for ages 2 to 5 years.
Adjustable Pedals to fit a growing child. Solid rubber tires on 9 1/2 inch steel wheels that make pedaling easier. Functional steering wheel, durable steel construction. Dimensions: 35L x 20W x 19H in.
Morgan Cycle Ice Cream Truck Pedal Car
A very cute looking toy that will remind you of the ice cream truck/pedal car in the neigborhood. The only thing that you will require is real ice-creams to go along with this.
Suitable for 3-4 years old. Dimensions: 41 x 19 x 19 inches. Weight 37 Pounds
Best Pedal Cars
Pedal car for 3 year old kids
Step2 Zip N’ Zoom Pedal Car
A pedal car for kids aged 30 months to 5 years. The pedals are stiff and a little hard to push, so it is ideally meant for kids aged 3 and above. This car is best driven on concrete or pavement. The tires are not really very grippy and they spin a bit before it starts moving ahead. The design is very nice; the oversize wheels and vibrant color gives it some attitude.
Pedal Cars for 2-year old kids
Berg Go2 Pedal Car
Pedal Cars for 10-year old kids
Little Tikes Jett Car Racer
Designed for growing kids (age 3 to 10 years), the Little Tikes Jett Car Racer is sturdy and built for thrill. It comes with rubberized, off-road style tires that can handle any kind of terrain. The manually pedaled car provides great exercise as well.
InStep Pedal Cars
InStep Hot/Street Rod Pedal Car
Hot Rod Pedal Car from InStep has a vintage look and is recommended for kids aged 3+ years up to a maximum weight of 70 pounds.
- Features ADJUSTABLE PEDALS. As your child grows, you can move the pedals.
- Solid steel construction, Lead free paint, Functional steering, Rubber tires
- Dimensions: 37 inches (L), 12 inches (W), 17 inches (H). Weight: 40 pounds.
ASSEMBLY – Takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour to assemble (depending on how handy you’re with a wrench).
InStep Police Pedal Car
You also get the InStep Retro Police Pedal Car that features a nostalgic black and white paint scheme. It has exceptional detailing including a front grill, non-working headlights, and a police theme. It’s suitable for kids up to 50 lbs.
InStep Pink Lady Pedal Car
This beautiful pedal car is also available in pink color that will appeal more to girls.
InStep Fire Truck Pedal Car
The InStep Fire Truck Pedal Car looks like a vintage fire truck, and features functional steering, authentic detailing, adjustable pedal drive, solid steel construction, rubber tires and chrome hubcaps.
For children aged 3+ and up to maximum 70 lbs weight. See PRICE on Amazon
Ladder holders and removable wooden ladders add to the classic look. Great nostalgic fire truck to stimulate your kids wild imaginations and to provide hours of fun.
Lead-free paint ensures safety. Dimensions: 37 inches (Length), 12 inches (Width), 17 inches (Height).
Funtoyworld is a family-managed website with me (Ben), and my wife doing most of the work. We are proud parents of two wonderful kids and love reviewing toys. We have a firm but friendly “democratic parenting” style and offer several practical suggestions backed by extensive research. Our own experience with raising two children prompted us to share our knowledge. Read more.