When purchasing a bike for your child, the first and most important step is to find the right size. When your child can sit on the bike and the bottom of his foot is flat on the ground, the bicycle is a good fit. A child riding scrunched up on a bike that is too small for him, or riding stretched out on a big that is too big, can lead to spills and injuries. There are four common standard bicycle sizes for children which are measured by the diameter of the wheels on the bike.
The first bike that you buy for your child will most likely be a 12-inch bicycle. A 12-inch bicycle will fit most children between the ages of two and four. Many of them come with training wheels, full chain coverage and fun extras such as baskets, bags or tassels.
A 16-inch bicycle fits children aged five through eight. Depending on the manufacturer, some 16-inch bikes come with rear coaster brakes and others with hand brakes. Before buying a bike with hand brakes, make sure that she has the manual dexterity to safely use them.
If your child is between seven and 10, a 20-inch bike will usually be the best fit. These bikes usually have regular hand brakes and various speeds. Shifting between different gears can be challenging, so remember to spend a good deal of time observing your child's coordination before purchasing a 20-inch bike with multiple speeds.
Many children over the age of 10 will be able to ride a 24-inch bike. These bikes offer many features and options that are the same as adult bikes. Adult bikes are typically 26 inches, so 24-inch bikes are slightly smaller.