What Is a Children's Scooter? Definition, Meaning and Concept
A children's scooter is a ride device that generally consists of two wheels and is manually powered by pushing the scooter with one foot while the other foot is placed on a riding platform. The typical kids' scooter design uses a low-slung frame that doubles as a mounting/standing platform, and a raised steering bracket extends from the front wheel to a pair of handlebars. Steering is controlled by turning the handlebars. A braking system, if present, consists of a steel bracket that is stepped on by the driver to cause the bracket to press against the rear tire. This effectively slows the kids scooter to a controlled stop.
Made popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s in America, the children's scooter was a forerunner of the bicycle for many rural children, while remaining the primary toy for urban children. Much easier to operate on concrete or pavement than gravel, the kids' scooter is commonly used where rollerblades are used. Some versions of the children's scooter were available with training wheels to allow even the youngest and most unstable rider to enjoy a ride. The typical design featured solid rubber tires mounted on a stamped steel wheel, however some of the more upscale models used wire wheels with pneumatic tires.
The softer and wider pneumatic tires made it possible to operate the kids scooter on uneven surfaces such as grassy lawns and even gravel paths. This scooter model also used a refined braking system instead of the steel-on-rubber type popular on earlier versions. Mildly tiring kids' scooters commonly used a braking system that consisted of a button near the rear of the scooter's frame. The rider simply stepped on this button and a rubber pad was directed towards the road, slowing and stopping the scooter. This braking system remained the preferred method of braking for many scooter owners until the advent of handbrakes.
The handbrake first came to children's scooter models in the late 1950s. Using two rubber pads that were pressed against each side of the rear wheel by squeezing a handlebar-mounted lever, the rider was able to stop the scooter without removing one foot from the stable platform of the running board. This eliminated many accidents that were the result of unstable footing and imbalance caused by having to move one foot from the ride platform to the brake button.