ATVs can be a lot of fun, and there are no limitations on who can drive them like other motorized vehicles. In many families, ATVs are a common mode of transportation around private land.
While it may seem like these vehicles are a great solution to helping kids get around farms and other large tracts of land, they are incredibly dangerous. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a recommendation that no child under the age of 16 should drive or even ride on ATVs.
Fatal accidents are a concern
The AAP’s recommendation comes after analyzing the statistics about ATV accidents involving children. From 1982 to 2015, the study showed over 3,000 children died from these accidents. The AAP determined the only way to protect children from deadly accidents or potentially serious injuries is that they not ride or operate these vehicles.
Factors that make them dangerous
Manufacturers build ATVs for adults. The design fits a grown body, which means any safety considerations target adults and not children. Children may be unable to properly reach controls, and they may not be big enough to keep the vehicle’s balance as it should be to drive it safely.
In addition, the AAP found children do not have the mental or cognitive skills needed to operate these vehicles safely, which means even on ATVs made for children, they are not safe.
The AAP knows not every parent will follow the recommendation. They advise parents who still allow their children to operate ATVs to at least ensure they understand all the safety rules and stick to riding machines made for youths.