Isabelle is now very into ride-ons and anything with wheels. If it has wheels she wants on no matter if she is too big or too small for it.
Ride-ons are great for in the garden and home but when we are out we like to have control to stop her zooming off into bushes, down ditches and even into the road. With standard bikes, trikes, scooters and ride-ons we don’t have that safety so we took to our nearest Toys R Us store to see what we could find.
There’s no surprise that the Mr was very interested in the motorised cars but we had to be practical, our house just doesn’t have the space for one.
After spending a good half hour of Isabelle climbing in, on and out of the items on display we settled on getting a trike. The types with the parent handle to the rear and the harness to keep her safe and secure.
Toys R Us had a huge range available, from small starter trikes, to trikes with characters and even a large range of bikes for older children but I knew that I wanted a Smart Trike, the Smart Trike Zoo 3-in-1 to be precise. I had heard great things about Smart Trike and they had dominated the market for the past few years.
The Smart Trike Zoo is a unique 3-in-1 tricycle, suitable from the age of 10 months up to 3 years plus.
For use from 10 months the Smart Trike features a high backed padded seat with a padded safety harness, safety bar at the sides, foot rest and adjustable clutch. There is also a fully adjustable sun canopy with UV protection and finally the telescopic parent handle which handle gives parents full control over steering.
For use from 15 months, the seat can be adjusted to a lower back seat with the three point seat belt, the foot rest can be folded in and sun canopy removed if needed.
From 24 months you can give your child full control of the wheels by removing the parent handle and taking the clutch off the front wheel meaning that they can pedal by themselves.
For our little lady we opted for the Smart Trike Zoo 3-in1 in Parrot, she’s not too bothered on colour now but as she gets older and the trike transforms into the next stages she might appreciate the pink colour of the Parrot. We went for this model because as Isabelle grows we can simply shed certain security features. First the safety bars at the sides are removed followed by the straps, then the clutch (the feature that disable the pedals) and finally the parent handle allowing the Isabelle independence on the trike.
We brought the trike home and knew that it would require some assembly so thought it would be a good idea to wait until Isabelle was in bed to do this. I’m glad we did, there was a lot more to assemble that I thought but this went together fairly easily with the use of the instruction manual. Just make sure to follow the instructions carefully, don’t jump any steps like we did and end up having to take it apart to start again when we attached the straps incorrectly. The instructions provided are clear and concise.
The box comes with every you need to set up the trike with the exception of a Philips head screwdriver and 2xAA batteries for the toy phone.
Isabelle was very eager to test out her new trike the following morning so we took her down to the park then to see her Nana on the way back. The ride was rather smooth but it did sound a lot louder than I expected.
Isabelle loved the position of the trike and could not stop giggling and smiling on our little journey, then she discovered the toy phone at the front. This soon became her favourite feature and had very important conversations when we were out and about. The phone is connected to the trike by a strong cord and also features a holder so that it cannot be removed or get lost. To the front of the trike is a very handy cup holder, although Isabelle uses this for other things to, like snacks, toys or even the toy phone. Some of the larger cups that we have do not fit in the cup holder.
To the rear of the trike is a large colour matching bucket which comes in handy for keeping, coats, jackets, toys like balls and even lunch. The bucket has fallen off a few times on us now but only when going down a step or high kerb outside. It reattaches very easily and can also be removed if you like.
The parent handle of the trike is my favourite feature and makes taking Isabelle for walks a breeze. The hand allows you to steer and control the pace of the trike as well as being fully height adjustable. At the top of the parent handle is a handy little zipped pouch which is big enough to store keys, a phone, a purse and basic nappy changing essentials.
To the rear of the seat is the sun canopy, I have found this invaluable when out and about as Isabelle is not one to wear a hat and squints in the sun so that canopy is a big help in keeping her shaded when we are out. This shade is completely detachable and is manoeuvrable to the optimum position. The sunshade does seem a little flimsy but stays in position unless there is a big gust of wind.
The padded seat covers and arm-rests make it a much more comfortable ride than any other trike I have come across and Isabelle was happy to stay in the trike for well over an hour which she would not be happy to do if we were out and about with a pushchair. The whole experience of travel in the Smart Trike Zoo convinces her to sit still and take in the scenery when we are out and about. With the retractable foot rest it is perfect for those little toddler legs to allow them to rest instead of just dangling to the sides.
The Trike also features a footbrake to keep the trike stationary, the brake is easy to apply but can be a little difficult to access from the rear with the bucket in place, I found and easy way to apply the brake from the side so it really isn’t a problem for me at all.
We take it on trips out to the parks and even on weekends away, with the handle retracted all the way down it fit in the boot of our car (Ford Focus) with room to spare so should fit comfortably in to most family size cars.
We have taken the trike over varied terrain from gravel paths to dirt tracks and across fields; the Trike had no trouble with any of it. It has been a dream to push; the only place where we have had a little difficulty is over soft sand on beaches.
One thing that I have discovered is that Isabelle often counter steers using the handle bars, this could just be because I haven’t done something and it might be possible to disable that but so far I haven’t discovered how to stop it.
Overall it is a smooth, comfortable and exciting ride for babies and toddlers, making it the must have accessory for outdoorsy kids. This is a fantastic product that both parents and children will enjoy. It is easy transport and use on most surfaces. The trike itself is very well put together and extremely sturdy, I have no worries over Isabelle using it and know that we will get lots of use out of it over the years.
As a parent I would recommend this to all my friends (and have in some cases). It does seem a little expensive but when you take into account that the trike is suitable from the age of 10 months to three years it proves excellent value for money.
Priced at £99.99 in Toys R Us
For more information on Smart Trike or to full their full product range check out www.smart-trike.com.