A kids' scooter is a ride-on device that commonly consists of two wheels and is powered manually by pushing the scooter with one foot while the other foot is placed on a riding platform. The typical kids' scooter design uses a low-slung frame that doubles as a riding/standing platform, and a raised steering stand extends up from the front wheel to a pair of handle bars. The steering is controlled by turning the handle bars. A braking system, if present, consists of a steel bracket that is stepped on by the rider to cause the bracket to press against the rear tire. This effectively slows the kids' scooter to a controlled stop.
Made popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s in America, the kids' scooter was a precursor to the bicycle for many rural children, while it remained the primary ride-on toy for urban kids. Much easier to operate on concrete or pavement than gravel, the kids' scooter is commonly used where roller skates are worn. Some versions of the kids' scooter were available with training wheels to allow even the youngest and more unsteady rider to enjoy a ride. The typical design included solid rubber tires mounted on a stamped steel wheel, however, some of the more upscale models used wire wheels with pneumatic tires.
The softer and wider pneumatic tires made it possible to operate the kids' scooter on uneven surfaces, such as grassy lawns and even gravel roads. This model of scooter also used a refined braking system in place of the steel-on-rubber type popular on earlier versions. The soft-tired kids' scooters commonly used a stomp braking system consisting of a button near the rear of the scooter's frame. The rider simply stomped on this button and a rubber pad was directed towards the roadway, which slowed and stopped the scooter. This braking system remained the preferred method of braking by many scooter owners until the advent of hand brakes.
The handbrake first found its way onto kids' scooter models in the late 1950s. Using two rubber pads that were pressed against each side of the rear wheel by squeezing a lever mounted on the handle bars, the rider was able to stop the scooter without removing one foot from the stable platform of the foot board. This eliminated many accidents that were the result of unstable footing and unbalance caused from having to move a foot from the riding platform to the brake button.