ATV Safety Tips For Young Riders
Youth ATV safety is important, here is a checklist of child related ATV safety tips. Riding ATVs is fun but it can be dangerous if you don’t take all of the proper safety precautions possible, especially for kids. Consider this an ATV safety refresher, please follow the recommendations provided by your specific ATV’s manufacturer, your local laws and, as always, set a good example!
Youth ATV Accident Statistics: The US Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps records about ATV accidents and deaths in the United States, especially if a child is involved. According the CPSC: In 2003 kids accounted for a full 30 percent of the 740 ATV related deaths in the US. Over 90% of those deaths could have been prevented by following some simple safety rules! Let me re-iterate that. Over 200 kids died needlessly because some or all recommended child safety precautions were not taken. Government source: cpsc.gov.
Youth ATV Safety Recommendations
- ATVs are not legal for children under the age of 16 in many places, know your local laws!
- Don’t remove child safety equipment from kids ATVs, those speed limiters save lives.
- Don’t tell your child they are the best ATV rider in the world, they might believe you and get hurt or hurt someone else. Instead let them know to always be mindful of their surroundings, be a nag when you need to be and always set a good example yourself.
- Take the time to get all required ATV riding permits in advance.
- Make sure your child wears proper safety gear at all times.
- Give the ATV a proper tuneup if it’s been idle for some time.
- Replace or instal a flag pole if it is damaged or missing.
- Be responsible, especially when children are around, and know that they tend to mimic the ones they love.
- Have fun, show your kids a good time can be had without riding dangerously, safety first.
I'd also like to remind you to respect the environment and take your trash with you when you leave, ATV riding is a massively popular pass time but a few inconsiderate riders can ruin trails and dunes for everyone. Ride safe.
Family outings with ATV riding as part of the plan can be a lot of fun for everyone including the kids. There is however a lot of things you need to know about kids and ATVs. You are likely aware of most of the ATV safety tips mentioned here but please read the article in full again if your child is going to ride an ATV. I will attempt to keep it up to date with recommendations from official sources.
This article isn’t written to shock you, it’s intent is to inform you so that you can make safer decisions, kids are worth it. Before your kid gets on an ATV you need to check all of the following.
#1 – Properly sized riding gear is being worn including a helmet, goggles, chest protector, gloves, solid boots and knee/elbow pads. Also make sure there are no strings or dangling pieces of clothing such as a scarf being worn.
#2 – Properly sized ATV. Kids under 16 just aren’t capable of riding an adult ATV safely. Some will disagree of course but the facts speak for themselves. Of the kid atv deaths in 2003 a full 90% of those involved kids riding adult ATVs. An adult ATV can weigh up to 800 pounds and be much more powerful than a kid can handle. Just because a child has ridden an adult ATV dozens of times in the past without incident doesn’t mean that that same child will not have an accident on the next ride. A child on an over-sized or overpowered ATV is a recipe for an accident.
#3 – Training courses and proper permits. In some states it is mandatory for a child under 16 to pass an approved ATV riding course given by a qualified instructor before being allowed to ride. In other states its mandatory for the child’s parents to be directly supervising the child at all times and have passed a training course themselves. The laws are being enforced and are being tightened each year as more preventable accidents occur.
#4 – Always have a mature attitude about riding when children are around, if they hear you talk about performing jumps or doing other risky things they are more likely to try it at some point.
#5 – Make sure the child is well rested, when kids get tired they don’t have the alertness and strength to avoid some accidents.
#6 – Leave all restraints intact. Youth models often have speed limiters and shutoff systems, use them!
#7 – No riding after dark, although adults need to be careful as well children are likely to be more seriously hurt in an accident and many accidents happen when visibility isn’t 100%.
#8 – Supervision friends. Children shouldn’t ever ride alone and when riding with friends they need to be supervised by an adult at all times. Kids can and will act differently with other kids around when left unsupervised.
#9 – Children under age 16 shouldn’t ride with someone else on the same ATV, even if that someone else is an adult. Although it may seem harmless both the passenger and driver are at an increased risk of accident and injury by sharing. Kids need to avoid doubling up.
Child safety guidelines are being improved constantly in order to reduce the number of injuries and deaths. Saying you didn’t know won’t protect you and will not protect your child, no excuses.
Most major ATV manufacturers have a model designed for children under 16 but some manufacturers and dealers will not sell an ATV to children under age 12. If your local laws do not have specific laws regarding young ATV riders then use common sense and consider age 12 a minimum age to start riding and ATV and consider a 90cc engine the biggest allowed for any rider under age 16. It’s highly unlikely however that there would be no laws in your area, contact your local police station for guidance in advance.
There are also many great places to learn more about ATV safety, training courses, warnings and statistics. Here is a good place to start: atvsafety.org. Please set a good example, especially when kids are around.