How safe are ATVs for Kids?

Once again, as the holiday season approaches, both manufacturers and the government are reminding ATV dealers across the country that age restrictions are placed on ATVs for a reason.  There are a number of manufacturers who provide safe atvs for kids, but there are also a number of parents who fail to heed the warnings and purchase their children an ATV designed for an adult. Unfortunately, there are also some dealers in the industry that are not enforcing the age restrictions as required and they may find themselves out of business.

ATV Age Restrictions

The reasoning for the ATV age restrictions is based on data derived from pediatricians and hospitals based on accidents involving atvs and children. Parents purchase ATVs for kids and fail to consider that the 14 year old just does not have the cognitive, maturity and judgment or skill level to safely operate an ATV.  Quite often parents are considering the size of the child when making the atv purchasing decision– well yes, 11 year old Johnny is 5 foot 6 and 150 lbs, but yet you wouldn’t put him behind the wheel of a car just because he is the size of a automobile driver.

ATVs for Kids – Are Four Wheels Really Better Than Two?

The popularity of ATVs for kids has actually surged recently, parents sometimes feel that four wheels are better than two, but the mere size of an ATV designed for an adult and being driven by a 9 year old can have disastrous consequences should it roll over and onto the child.

Atvs for kids are generally set up in two different age groups – those from age 6 through 11 and then those from age 12 to 16.  The CC size is the general guideline for which age groups the ATV falls into.  50cc’s and smaller are ATVs designed for kids under 11 but over the age of 6, while the 90cc ATVs are for kids ages 12 through 16.

Training Just As Important As Supervision

Another consideration when purchasing atvs for kids is the lack of training offered to young children and their parents’ willingness to get them properly trained.  In the study “ Pediatric ATV Injuries and Manufacturer Warnings are Not Enough to Change Behavior”, a survey of children hospitalized as a result of an ATV crash between 2004 and 2009, determined that over 50% of ATV accidents involving children on inappropriately sized ATVs occurred during adult supervision, which means the children are being supervised, but accidents are still happening.

Read The Labels When Purchasing ATVs for Kids

Atvs for kids can be a wonderful Christmas present, but parents, make sure it is age appropriate and safe for your child.  If you are unsure, a reputable dealership will have the proper safety tags hanging on the units and the units will be clearly labeled by the manufacturer.  Most importantly, if a dealer tells you age doesn’t matter; don’t walk –  run, because they do not have you or your child’s best interests in mind.