Whenever we go over to my sister’s house, my 20-month-old daughter makes a beeline directly to her 18-month-old cousin’s pink low-to-the-ground Fisher-Price ride-on toy.
She loves to dance to the music it plays and to sit on it, and she does the same whenever we see a similar toy at one of our neighborhood parks (assuming the owners will let us use it).
Still, I long held off on buying my daughter a similar ride-on toy. One reason: I imagined pushing and pulling my daughter around in it would involve a lot of hunching on my part and wouldn’t be good for my back.
However, I recently learned a clever strategy for making baby and toddler ride-on toys more back-friendly, a trick that is today’s hint and that helped me reconsider my anti ride-on toy stance.
The trick: At a park by our house, I met a Dad who had cleverly tied a regular old belt around the front of a ride-on toy (see the image above and to the right). He said the belt made it easier for him to pull his young toddler around on the toy and to pull the toy to and from the park when he’s carrying his little one, and helped him avoid hunching.
To be sure, this hack could be dangerous if you pull the ride-on toy too fast while your little one is on it and aren’t careful.
In addition, you can avoid the need for it by going for a ride-on toy from the get go that is back friendly. Little Tikes, for instance, makes a host of ride-on “cars” and tricycles with tall push handles (like this) that parents can use to push their little ones around, and both Step 2 and Fisher-Price both make similar models.
As for me, I opted to buy my daughter the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe (that red and yellow “car” you probably remember from your childhood).
I like that it easily transforms from a parent push toy into a riding toy toddlers can move themselves. But more importantly, I love that it’s tall enough for me to push and pull without straining my back and has a handle of sorts for me to use right near the rear window.
However, if you didn’t opt for a model from the get go that comes back friendly, the belt trick may come in handy for the short time frame between when your little ones want to start using a ride-on toy and when they can move the toys around themselves using their legs.
What back-friendly ride-on toys have you found? What are your tricks for avoiding ride-on toy back strain?