Alex’s New Jeep

May 2, 2012

Most parents wait to get their kid a car at least until the kid turns 16 and gets a license. Well I guess I am a bit unusual (and Alex is a bit spoiled), because Alex is 2 ½ years old, and he got to drive his own jeep around the block yesterday.

Every time we have gone to Toys R Us, Alex has wanted to play in the ride on vehicles. They are pretty expensive and frankly we would rather that he rode his bike, so we had not seriously considered bringing one home. Still, I occasionally browsed to see what I could find on Craig’s List, especially right after we went to the toy store. I really just wanted Alex to get the chance to drive one of these vehicles around a bit, but alas there is no place I know of that rents them out by the hour.

When we went to the Super Kids Resale Event, we fell in love with the little tractor, but decided it was too much money for a vehicle which we may not have been able to get to work. At the time I was unable to determine which battery or charger it would use. There was also a ride on F250 at the event, but it also needed a new battery plus it was pretty trashed.

After I passed on both vehicles, I browsed Craig’s List again, and I found a deal. I got a ride on jeep, two tricycles, and some toys all for $20. I jumped on the deal as soon as I saw it even though, according to the ad, the jeep needed a battery and charger.

I went online and looked for the battery and charger for the jeep. I was able to find a manual, but I came up with a blank on batteries and chargers. There were a fair amount of them available for ride ons, but the model ride on I got was no longer available and the company who made it was no longer making ride ons. Finally I found a 6 volt battery and charger made by the right company and purchased it online from Toys R Us. Alas, when it came, it was the wrong unit for our ride on jeep.

I called Toys R Us and talked to a very nice woman who tried to help me, but because the jeep was no longer made or under warranty, she was unable to find the information I needed. I also emailed a company called Kids Wheels. They asked me to send a photo of the battery and attachment which I did.

I returned the 6 volt battery that I had ordered to the local Toys R Us store and talked to a very nice associate who recommended I try Batteries Plus on 82nd street, so I sent Batteries Plus an email.

I got an email back from Kids Wheels with the charger information that I needed. The charger was a bit more than I wanted to spend, $44.62 with shipping. I hesitated, but ended up going ahead and placing the order. Shortly after I sent the order I received an email from Batteries Plus saying that they had chargers and batteries for the unit. The price was comparable for the charger, but I would have saved shipping. Oh well.

The charger finally came this Monday and I plugged it into the Jeep. The Jeep needed 18 hours to charge, so I was not able to test the vehicle until yesterday.

Yesterday we went outside and I went into the garage and set up the Jeep while Alex played. I unplugged the charger, plugged in the battery, and turned on the switch. Nothing happened. I turned it off and on again. Still nothing. At this point I was thinking I needed a new battery which would mean even more money. I looked the Jeep over wondering if I was missing something. Sure enough, there was the gas pedal. I pressed it and the Jeep roared to life.

I carried the Jeep out of the garage, put Alex’s bike helmet on him, and we went out for a drive. He had such a huge smile on his face when he first got the vehicle driving himself. He figured out how to make it go and how to steer, but decided he preferred to hold the sides because the road was bumpy. As a result I had to be constantly bending over to steer the jeep. I’m so glad his first vehicle goes no faster than I can walk since the odds of him hurting himself in it at that speed are pretty slim. We went around the block and Alex had a great time, but by the time we got back to our street, he wanted to ride his trike instead. Honestly I was glad to hear him ask for his trike, as while the jeep is fun, riding a trike is a healthier activity.

We parked the jeep in the garage and I plugged it back into the charger so it would be ready to ride again next time. Alex did not get to ride his trike though as I had to get back to work and the rain was starting to come down.

So it took a little work and a bit of money, but now Alex has his own Jeep, and I hope he will have a lot of fun with it.

-HL