While they can be lots of fun and a great family-friendly activity, ATVs can also pose serious safety risks for children. It’s important that parents and adults educate themselves on proper ATV safety before introducing the vehicles to their children.
From 1982 through 2014, there were 3,098 ATV-related fatalities reported to the CPSC of children younger than 16 years of age. Of these, 1,342 (43 percent) were younger than 12 years of age. The age of the child riding the ATV is critical to understand which vehicle is right for them. There are rules and guidelines designed to keep children safe.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Children under the age of 16 should never ride adult ATVs. There are ATVs designed for kids that are required to travel at a lower speed and have a feature that allows the speed to be adjusted based on the experience of the rider
- All ATVs should display what age the vehicle is meant for via a label on the vehicle
- If the child is under the age of six, they should never be on an ATV, either as a rider or as a passenger
In 2014, an estimated 93,700 ATV-related, emergency department-treated injuries were reported in the United States. Of these, over a quarter of these involved children under 16 years of age. These injuries could have involved either drivers or passengers of ATVs.
Although children can be passengers on ATVs as early as six, it’s important that they understand how to be a passenger. The driver of an ATV should be able to move freely. The child should be taught how to be a passenger first when the vehicle is off, then driving slowly, incorporating turns, etc. before graduating to any trails or higher speeds.
There are some additional safety considerations that should be taken into account for riders and passengers alike. Firstly, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or the Snell Memorial Foundation helmets are recommended by the CPSC and the ATV Safety Institute for drivers and passengers. All riders should also wear goggles and long sleeves and pants to avoid rocks and dirt getting in the eyes and cutting the skin.
ATVs are meant to be enjoyed, but this is only possible if all safety precautions are taken. If an accident has occurred, always get the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call 888-325-7299 for a free consultation.