You’re a loving and caring parent. That’s why you bought your child or foster child an expensive hoverboard on their last birthday. But a hoverboard isn’t exactly a toy no matter what people call it. It’s an electric motor-powered vehicle that can travel really fast, sometimes over 10 miles per hour. Which means safety is a huge concern, especially if the child hasn’t yet mastered the self-balancing scooter. This brief resource describes how to teach a kid to ride a hoverboard in 10 minutes tops.
Related post: How to choose a kid’s hoverboard
Are Hoverboards Safe for Kids?
But here’s a question I’m certain many parents ask: are hoverboards safe for kids? Well, they are, at least for the most part. But this in no way means that hoverboard accidents are rare. Quite the contrary, hoverboard mishaps happen a lot, especially of the moderate variety. But if you think that these devices are unsafe for kids, stop reading and go buy them a skateboard.
A skateboard doesn’t have a motor, so it must be significantly safer than a hoverboard, right? Wrong! According to this source, the years 2015 and 2016 in the United States witnessed about 27,000 hoverboard injuries compared to well over 100,000 skateboard injuries. Feeling more comfortable about letting your little one ride a hoverboard? Good. Let’s do it!
All that said, hoverboards sometimes act up during rides or when being charged. Some have exploded causing burns to the unlucky rider while others have burst up in flame damaging household properly. I say this not to scare you but to let you know what’s happened in the past so you can take preventive measures. And here’s a few hoverboard safety tips to start you off down the right path.
In the video below, a loving dad teaches his kid to ride a hoverboard. It’s easy; it shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to show them the ropes, so to speak.
Here’s how you show your child how to ride their hoverboard and squeeze the most enjoyment out of it.
Teach Your Kid to Hoverboard in 7 Simple Steps
Let’s dive right in.
Step #1: Get a Decent Kid’s Hoverboard for Your Little One.
Obviously, you need a safe balance board with a properly working self-balancing mechanism. You need a UL 2272-certified hoverboard for kids whose self-leveling technology is responding promptly and effectively.
You can certainly teach them to ride using your own hoverboard if you’ve yet to purchase one for them. But you need to make sure that the existing board’s minimum weight limit allows your child to ride. For most boards, the least weight allowed on the foot pad is 44 pounds. If your kiddo is developing like the average in his age group, they should be able to ride most boards at age 4 or 5. But I’d not let a child that young (young than 8) to ride a motorized vehicle such as a hoverboard.
Super important: Just like you do with a smartphone or other battery-dependent device, allow the hoverboard to draw a full charge before the exercise. For most balance boards (good ones), a full charge should last at least 20 minutes, which is sufficient time to teach your little one how to ride their thing. Please don’t leave that hoverboard unattended, because I don’t it exploding and your hateful neighbor exclaiming, “we knew this accident was gonna happen. I though this dude was smart enough to know there’s nothing like a safe hoverboard. Served him right!”
*Some hoverboards come fully charge, but that’s not a reason to charge them when new.
Step #2: Turn the Device on
Usually, there’s a power on/off button on the hoverboard. Before you start that hoverboard, you want to make sure it’s on a flat surface. An uneven surface can cause the self-balancing feature to act a little weirdly, and surprises aren’t something you want this early in the teaching process.
For many boards, the on button is a silver button. Simply depress this button and hold for a few seconds. Usually, you’ll hear a beeping sound when the device powers on.
I suggest that you perform this step indoors on carpeting or out in the yard on the grass. Because you don’t the hoverboard shooting out from under your kiddo.
Step #3: Help Your Kid Get on Their Hoverboard
This is a very crucial step. You want your kiddo to get used to their board. And no, you don’t want your kid to step on the anti-slip foot pads before you’ve turned the thing on. That’s how small accidents happen!
So, ask the child to pick one of their feet (doesn’t really matter which, but I bet they’ll get step on the board with their dominant foot first. Once they get the first foot on the deck, tell them to get the other foot on the board.
It should be pretty easy to balance on the board since the board is doing some of the balancing and stabilization work.
Next, ask them to step off the board with one foot and plant it onto the ground. Then, have them repeat this action with the other foot. Have the kid get on and off the board for as many times as are needed to make the activity feel easy and doable.
They can hold onto a wall or other solid, vertical support. But I suggest that you offer your hands so they can hold onto them.
Cheap Boards Sometimes Have Trouble Staying Upright
Even though the board balances itself and keeps itself upright, that’s not always the case. The internet has seen quite a few stories of self-leveling scooters that failed to stay upright and caused falls. This usually happens with cheapo hoverboards, you know, those in the $60 territory.
At this point in their learning journey, you want them to get familiar with how it feels to stand on a board that’s about to take off (hopefully not like a rocket!).
The Right Stance on a Hoverboard
Instruct the child to stand straight up and not to learn either forward or rearward. To make this step easy for them, ask them to look far ahead as if they’re focusing on some object that’s far off. This stops them from looking down to see what the feet are doing.
Safety tip: Your kiddo needs to step on the board and keep their feet flat rather than tilted. That’s easy to do since most hoverboards have a wide enough feet deck. As they get on the board, please provide the support they need to feel safe and comfortable.
Step #4: Support the Child Once They Start Rolling
Once the kiddo is comfortable getting on and off their board, they’re ready for the next step: moving forward. To move forward, all the child needs to do is to lean forward a little.
But because kids may have a little trouble processing this instruction, ask them to simply stretch their toes out forward. As they attempt to stretch out the toes, they’ll naturally lean forward a little, and they’ll shift some of their body weight forward. Once this happens, they’ll certainly start gliding forward. It’s like magic!
The science behind the forward glide: When the child tilts their feet/puts their toes out, the sensitive sensors right under the foot pad cause the board to roll in the direction the toes are pointing.
Step #5: Teach Your How to Move Backward on a Hoverboard
If they didn’t struggle with the above step, I bet they’ll execute this step equally well. All they need to do is to tilt the heels downward, which naturally causes the weight to shift reward. The sensor processes this instruction accordingly and the board starts rolling backward.
Kids learn fast, and they’ll master going forward and backward in a matter of minutes.
Step #6: Teach Your Kid How to Turn on a Hoverboard
Now that your kiddo can roll forward and backward on their self-balancing scooter, it’s time to teach them how to do turns. And how do you turn on a hoverboard? To turn on a hoverboard, all the child needs to do is:
Put pressure on the foot pad using the toes of the right foot to turn counterclockwise
Put pressure on the foot pad with the toes of the left foot to turn counterclockwise
Seriously, it’s that easy.
Step #7: Teach Your How to Get Off their Hoverboard
Stepping off a hoverboard may not seem like a big deal, and it’s not if you know how to do it right. But stepping off the board with both feet at once is a recipe for trouble. The correct way to get off a hoverboard is to step off with one foot and then other.
Here’s another safety tip: Have your kiddo understand that they MUST NEVER land their feet in front of the board. If they do that, there’s a chance that the board will run over them. It’s always best to put the feet behind the device.
And no, they shouldn’t dismount the hoverboard unless and until it’s come to a complete stop. Unless an emergency of some kind happens and they have to bail. I suggest that you watch a few videos on how to fall safely on a hoverboard. Every boarder worth their salt understand that knowing to fall right is as important as knowing how to ride safely.
Do’s and Dont’s of Safe Hoverboarding
Know what you need to do to help your child enjoy safe, fun-filled rides on their hoverboard. There’s a bunch of things not to do if you’re prioritizing safety, which you obviously should.
The Do’s When Riding a Hoverboard
- Do charge your kid’s hoverboard until the battery gets a full charge. Charge time for most good boards is 2-3 hours, but it can be as long as 5 hours on crappy ones.
- Do place the hoverboard on a level surface, preferably on a patch of grass or carpeting before your kiddo steps on it.
- Do turn on the board first and then step on it.
- Do step on the board one foot at a time rather than jumping on it with both feet.
- Do get off the hoverboard one foot at a time and never with both feet at the same time.
- Do wait for the hoverboard to stop moving before stepping off the board.
- Do make sure your understand the hoverboard-riding laws/regulations in your country or state.
- Do keep an eye on the path ahead and scope out the surface for pedestrians, cars, potholes, cracks, rocks, and other obstacles and steer clear of such.
- Do provide parental supervision every time your child is on thier balance board.
- Do find a safe, even, smooth surface without traffic, preferably out in the driveway if not indoors.
- Do keep the board in tip-top condition and get rid of dirt, grit, debris, and moisture.
The Don’ts When Riding a Hoverboard
- Even if the board is water-resistant (pretty much all hoverboards are), don’t let your child ride it right through puddles and muddy sections. That said, an IP56 water-certified kid’s hoverboard (usually off-road options) can tolerate a little mud, sand, and even the occasional puddle. Read this article to learn more about IP56-rated products.
- Don’t let your kiddo ride a smooth-surface board with plastic wheels on rough, muddy, or sandy terrain.
- Don’t allow your little one to ride on a public pavement, road, or other high-traffic area.
- Don’t allow the child to ever get on their board unless they have a helmet and protective pads on.
- Don’t try to repair the board or pay a non-authorized technician to repair it as that’s the surest way to void the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Don’t use any kind of power cord that didn’t come with the self-balancing scooter.
- Don’t allow your child to ride on extremely steep terrain as that tends to diminish the ability of the device to self-balance. Also, it’s easy to fall and get injured while riding down or up extremely steep slopes.
How to Teach Your Kid to Ride a Hoverboard: Summary
Teaching a kid how to ride a hoverboard isn’t as hard as you likely imagine. Simply the board out of the box, turn it on and set it to the lowest speed limit possible or beginner mode. Then, support your kiddo as they step on the board. Hold their upper body with your arms and let them feel their balance board.
Next, instruct them to stand straight up rather than leaning forward or backward. Ask them to look forward and not down at their feet. Once they’re accustomed to how their new shiny hoverboard feels, ask them to stretch their toes out forward.
Note that you’re still holding them. The board will start rolling forward, and your kiddo will LOVE it. What a feeling! Walk alongside them rather than behind them, providing support. The device is traveling at walking speed now, and your little one is learning how to stay balanced and stable on a moving hoverboard.
Then, teach them how to lean forward to glide a tad forward and a little backward to move backwards. You may want to hold them for the first few moments. Tell them that leaning too far forward causes a speed burst or a bad fall.
Finally, release the child and walk beside them, ready to offer support should they need it. Believe it or not, your son or daughter will learn to move forward, backward, and turn in under 10 minutes.
Remember, falls happen, so have them gear up properly before this exercise.
I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being Ricky's wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/esther.moni/">Visit my Facebook profile here</a>, and this is my <a href="https://ke.linkedin.com/in/esther-moni-3841b573/">LinkedIn profile</a>, and here's my <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKcVb3NNDrURDH8C0KiAE1g/">nascent youtube channel.