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The Dos and Don'ts of Having Children on an ATV


ATVs can be fun for the whole family, but for children under the age of 18 it’s very important that they’re always accompanied by an adult so they can have a safe, memorable time. This is true even if they’re already experienced riders.

For younger children, it’s especially important to be aware of the most crucial safety guidelines and considerations to follow when out on an ATV. Here’s a quick list of some simple dos and don’ts for using an ATV with children.

Make sure you learn at a slow pace

This is especially important for younger children. Kids who are getting on an ATV for the first time or who are still new to the experience need you to go slow so you do not frighten them and put them off for the experience. If you’re the driver, this means taking it slow the first time you’re on the ATV. For older children who are learning to drive themselves, you should start by getting them comfortable at various speeds, learning how to steer and brake, and keeping them on flat, even terrain.

Overexert or drive recklessly

If you’re an experienced driver, your comfort level with ATVs will be far beyond what your children’s comfort level is. Do not go to higher speeds, take on particularly bumpy terrain or deal with large hills. Your focus should be on showing kids it is both fun and safe, and with new drivers, getting them comfortable with the basics first.

Consider safety training

For young drivers who will be operating an ATV by themselves, you should seriously consider enrolling them in safety training courses. There are courses available for multiple age levels, and you will attend with your children in most cases. These courses teach children the basics of learning how to use ATVs in a safe, supervised environment.

Let children ride unsupervised

Even if you feel like your kid has a good grasp on the use of an ATV, you should always be present when they’re riding, and keep them within your sight. Keep the keys for the ATV locked away and out of reach, just in case they get the urge to go out and impress their friends.

Wear the correct apparel and safety gear

Some states require helmet use for children under the age of 18. It’s also strongly encouraged that you wear proper clothing, including eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt or jacket. Just make sure you don’t wear clothes you don’t want to get dirty—ATVs will kick up mud and dust. Athletic apparel is often comfortable because it provides coverage and comfort alike, but jeans or standard riding apparel can also work just fine.

Carry passengers on ATVs that don’t have capacity

If you don’t have an ATV model that allows for seating for multiple users, then don’t attempt to get people on board with you. In addition, there are some states that prohibit drivers under 18 from carrying passengers of their own if they are under the age of 18. Make sure you know the laws in your area.

Operate under the influence of alcohol or drugs

This should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway. Never under any circumstances should you or anyone else use an ATV while under the influence of substances like drugs or alcohol. These substances can have a detrimental effect on motion control, reflexes, judgment and perception. It’s illegal and it’s highly dangerous. Do not do it.

Make it a fun, enjoyable experience

There should be a lot of rules in place to ensure the safety of any children who will be riding on or driving an ATV. But you should also make it a fun, special experience, especially the first time. You don’t want your children to be afraid of the ATV—it should be something they enjoy, but also respect the dangers of.

With the weather warming up, now’s a great time to introduce kids to the ATV.

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