Are ATVs Safe for Kids?

girl learning how to ride atv

As a manager of extreme sports at the University of Calgary, Ian Munn knows how to have fun. He truly knows how to play by the rules, which is essential when kids are riding ATVs.

“Yes, it can be harmful, however, with the solid vehicle and training it can be fun,” stated Munn. “Kids learn how to control the vehicle and get great habits from the ride.”

Using the right machines is essential. Kids must have all the same security gear as an adult would, consisting of a full-face off-road helmet, goggles, gloves, long pants, long-sleeves and/or a coat. Grownups must practice and wear the appropriate safety gear each time they ride.

Safety issues

Choosing the best ATV for kids is very important, Munn said. There are ATVs developed for young riders. These vehicles are smaller and less effective, lighter and simpler to deal with than adult-sized ATVs. Riders should have the ability to conveniently grip the handlebars without extending, in addition, to touch the ground with their feet. Children should never ever be permitted to ride adult-sized ATVs.

Lots of designs of youth ATVs have a remote kill switch. This enables the engine to be cut remotely by the adult in charge. Some models also have a tether that should be held by the adult as they walk or jog along behind. If your ATV does not have a kill switch, one should be installed.

Tips for parents

Where you ride is just as essential as what you ride. The smooth, flat surface where one can see well into the range in vital for the brand-new rider. Avoiding hills, water and thick trees is important. Constantly ride in daylight and have a complete battery when you start. Be mindful of changing climate conditions and fit your trip accordingly. Set speed that kids can handle, as this can increase confidence and develop abilities.

When Munn was asked about riding with kids, he stated, “Slowly. And I constantly ride with my kids out in front of me so I can see where they are going.”

Finally, any adult riding with kids needs to be trained and skilled. They must know their vehicle well and think over the design that the kids are riding before starting.

Kids and grownups should remember to set limits within their capability, and, of course, to have fun!

Ride smart, ride safe

The Canadian Off-Highway Lorry Distributors Council is a nationwide non-profit association which mission is “the ongoing education and training of the public on the safe and responsible use of all-terrain vehicles and off-road motorcycles along with to promote the responsible interests of riders and the industry.”

The COHV site offers a number of resources dedicated to young ATV riders and their parents to promote the safe use of off-road lorries.

A brochure designed to assist moms and dads in choosing the right ATV for their kid called ‘Moms and Dads, Youngsters and All-Terrain Cars’ is available for free, as is a DVD titled ‘Ride Smart Ride Safe’. Have a good ride!

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