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Tricycle reviews

We test eight tricycles with parent handles, priced $49 to $349.
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01.Introduction

tricycle-lead

We review eight tricycles with parent handles, priced $49 to $349.

What youngster can resist a shiny new tricycle? They’re fun and easy to ride, and are a common step on the way towards learning to ride a bicycle, allowing a child to become familiar with steering and pedalling before tackling the challenge of balance.

Through our rigorous testing, we reveal which trikes are:

  • the safest
  • the easiest to use, and
  • have the best range of features.

Read more about how we test.

Many trikes now come with the option of an extended handle that enables a parent to push and steer the tricycle. This can be handy when you’re on an outing and you need to manoeuvre the tricycle through a difficult or potentially dangerous spot – such as going up or down hill, or mounting a kerb – or when your child is too young (or tired) to pedal themselves. However, we don't recommend you use one as a replacement for a stroller.

The handle can usually be detached and the harness removed once the child is old enough to not need restraint or adult assistance, making these a versatile toy.

Once your child is able to ride the trike themselves, they should wear a bike helmet. It’s still possible to fall from a trike and it makes sense to protect your child’s head.

Stroller substitute?

With their extended handles, sunshades and harnesses, these tricycles look similar to strollers. However, we don’t recommend you use one as a full-time replacement for a stroller. We found that the tricycles are not as easy to manoeuvre as most strollers, and they don’t always have the capacity to take children over the age of three or extra loads such as shopping.

Most importantly, tricycles aren’t subject to the same safety and durability requirements as strollers. For example, few have brakes on the rear wheels (for a parent to safely park the trike). One model we tested had no harness supplied. And trikes aren’t put through the rigorous “wear and tear” tests detailed in the Australian stroller standard.

For pushing a child to and from the shops or on an extended walk, a stroller is a much better bet. Tricycles – whether or not they have a parent handle and other features – are toys and should only be used as such.

For more on bikes and strollers, see Babies and kids.

Brands and models tested

  • Eurotrike Playsafe 2
  • Italtrike Outside Passenger
  • Kettler Happy Air Navigator
  • Little Tikes 3-in-1 Trike
  • Smart Trike Candy
  • Smart Trike Recliner
  • Smart Trike Zoo
  • Southern Star 3 in 1 Progress Trike

How we test

Using a test method based on the Australian standards for strollers (AS/NZS 2088) and toys (AS/NZS ISO 8124.1), we test the tricycles for:
  • Safety We check for any small parts that could be a choking hazard; sharp edges and points; gaps that could pose head, limb or finger entrapment hazards; scissoring and pinching hazards; and the safety of the harness.
  • Stability Sideways, forwards and rearwards.
  • Strength of construction.
We also rate them for ease of use:
  • Using the harness
  • Adjusting the height/length of the parent handle
  • Manoeuvring the tricycle with the parent handle.

As they are toys, tricycles should meet the toy standard AS/NZS ISO 8124.1. They aren't required to pass any part of the stroller standard but we think it is a useful basis for testing aspects not covered by the toy standard, in particular the harness and when checking for entrapment hazards.

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