Tricycles mark a very important milestone in every toddler's life. The first tricycle is a symbol of freedom and independence. Watching your toddler hop on and push the pedal down for the first time is a magical moment for both of you. The beaming smiles full of pride when your toddler rides down the street and back again will never be forgotten.

Tricycles have been enjoyed by toddlers for over 100 years -- they are one of the classic toys for toddlers. Just about every adult rode the classic red trike as a child. Most have fond memories of their red tricycle and gravitate towards that classic model when buying a tricycle for their toddler. There are so many tricycles available today, in varying sizes. The first step to picking the right tricycle for your toddler is getting the size right.

Tricycles are usually sized by their wheels: 10 12, 16, 20 and 24 inches. The bike should fit your child comfortably. Your toddler should be able to straddle the trike flat footed and dismount easily. Their knees shouldn't hit the handlebars when pedaling. Their legs shouldn't be stretched out completely when the pedals move around to the bottom of the wheel. Your toddler should be able to turn the handlebars easily.

A 10-inch bike is usually a suitable size for a one- to three-year-old, a 12-inch bike should fit a three- to five-year-old, and a 16-inch bike is suitable for a five- to seven-year-old. Always have your toddler test the tricycle in the store to make sure the size is a perfect fit. If the bike seems like the right size, but your toddler can't quite touch the ground, try lowering the seat. Sometimes all a trike needs is a little adjustment.

Choose a tricycle with a wide base and large wheels. You want the trike to be stable and not tip over easily. Some tricycles have adjustable seats and under-the-seat storage. Many newer tricycles are equipped with a detachable push handle. The push handles help you control how fast your toddler is riding. Push handles are especially handy in the early days when your toddler may not be able to keep up with the trike. You can also push your child home at the end of a long walk when they are just too tired to pedal themselves home.

Your toddler will love tooling around on a tricycle. They may even become resistant to your hand on the push handle insisting they can do it by themselves. Once they can pedal and move on their own there is no turning back. They will ride like the wind leaving squeals of joy echoing in their wake.

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