The fun world of ATV’s, also known as the “All-Terrain Vehicle”, has been popular with families all over the country and people have helped keep the dream of riding off-road alive by being safe. They do this by wearing helmets and other safety gear, never letting passengers ride with them, riding an ATV that is right for their age, always keeping an eye on kid’s when they are riding, not riding on public roads – and the most important one – never being intoxicated while operating the vehicle.
These are not, however, the only safety precautions you have to look out for, especially when there are children involved. Every child is not going to have the strength to ride one of these off-road vehicles. In fact, they might not have the skills or judgment either. With that being said, take a look at these points to consider when allowing a child to ride:
1. Motor Development and Visual Perception. We all want our children to have fun, but riding an ATV is serious business. They have to be able to do these things:
– Perceive distance or depth
– Rely on their side or peripheral vision
– Judge speed as well as follow any movements
– Keep their focus while also turning their attention to their surroundings
2. Physical Development. Your child has to sit comfortably on your ATV as well as reach the vehicle’s controls safely. You also want to make sure your child is strong enough to handle the machine. Coordination is also a must. A good rule of thumb is if they can ride a bike or skateboard with ease then they should be able to ride an ATV as well. Sufficient endurance is a great thing to have as well.
3. Emotional Development. You need to be sure that your child can do the following before you allow them to hop on an ATV:
– Follow rules
– Control behavior
– Understand that other children may be able to do things that he/she may not be able to do
– Make decisions that are based on pure reality
4. Decision Making. A child needs to know that every decision he or she makes has consequences, whether it is bad or good.
5. Children Should Not Ride If:
– They don’t have an understanding of the limitation of how to turn and stop
– They can’t describe certain experiences
– They can’t concentrate on anything other than what they are doing at that time