Choosing an ATV for a Child
Riding ATVs can be an ideal fun activity for the entire family to share together. Undeniably, potential dangers are involved, which is why children should attain a certain maturity level before riding. They also must, of course, be physically able to safely reach and control the handlebars and brakes. The next thing to consider is ensuring that you have the right all-terrain vehicle for your child. Some helpful tips are below.
Tips on Choosing ATVs for Children
The factors to consider when choosing an ATV for a child include the ATV type, how much power the vehicle has, how fast it can travel, drive mechanism, supervisory controls adults can use, brake and foot controls, and prevention of burns or avoiding an uncomfortable amount of heat.
ATV Type. Although you can choose between three-wheelers and four-wheelers for children, a four-wheeler is really the only choice, if you are putting safety at the forefront of your decisions. A four-wheeler provides a greater level of stability and is not as prone to overturning onto its side. Three-wheelers have actually been banned, but they are only available as after-market purchases.
Speed and Power. Size suggestions for young ATV riders have been provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The organization suggests that children under 16 should not use an adult-sized ATV with an engine of 90cc or greater. Guidelines for engine sizes for children are also offered by manufacturers, to ensure safe use. Recommendations follow:
• It is recommended that children under 6 do not ride ATVs.
• Children between ages 6 and 11 are safest riding an ATV with an engine size under 70cc. The maximum speed is about 24 miles per hour, though many ATVs provide the option of using a speed governor. For example, an ATV can be set to have a maximum speed of 10 miles per hour.
• Children between ages 12 and 15 are safest riding an ATV with an engine size between 70cc and 90cc. A speed limiter on a 90cc typically tops out at 15 mph.
• Children age 16 and older should be able to safely ride an ATV with an engine size over 90cc.
Drive Line. For beginning riders, automatic, single-speed transmissions are perfect. An automatic transmission offers greater safety and reasonable speed for novices.
Supervisory Controls. Parents can enjoy greater peace of mind when their children are riding ATVs because supervisory controls are available. Types of supervisory controls include: remote shut-off switches, throttle limiters, and exhaust restrictors.
Children need to be properly trained to operate the braking system on an ATV. In addition, hot engine components such as the exhaust and muffler need to be guarded to prevent burns, unless they are located in a position that doesn’t pose a threat to safety.
A final tip for parents is to ensure that children wear the recommended clothing to enhance safety. Riding ATVs is the kind of hobby that no one wants to have cut short for any reason. Getting children properly situated with the right ATV is just another way to stay on off-road adventure trails longer.