How to Get Your Children Into ATVs
Written by Carolyn Jackson
- Kids can ride ATVs. In fact, manufacturers make youth ATVs specifically designed with children in mind.
- If you are going to buy your child an ATV, be sure to buy them age and size appropriate ATV.
- Experience, knowledge, and proper gear are the best ways to ensure your child is practicing safe ATV riding.
Table of Contents
What is an ATV?
An ATV is a 3 or 4-wheeled vehicle with low-pressure tires and a seat that the operator straddles with one leg on each side. ATVs are controlled by two steering handlebars. The difference between a motorcycle and an ATV is that motorcycles have two wheels and ATVs have three or four. Otherwise, ATVs are very similar to motorcycles in how they ride and drive. If you compare an ATV and a UTV, they both have 3 or 4 wheels, but a UTV is driven more like a traditional car with a round steering wheel, foot pedals and the driver (and passenger) sat in a bench-like seat with a back. Therefore, an ATV is different from a UTV because of how the driver sits. Traditionally, ATVs are single-rider vehicles, and UTVs are designed for at least one passenger, if not more.
ATV is an acronym that stands for All-Terrain Vehicle. The distinguishing factor of an ATV is the driver’s seating position, the handlebars, and the vehicle driving on 3-4 wheels. For a more in-depth look at what an ATV is and the history of ATVs, take a look at our article: All About ATVs.
Are ATVs Safe?
This is a complicated question to answer. ATVs can be safe if they are used safely. Inherently, some dangers come with using an ATV. However, if you learn safety protocols, use the proper equipment, and operate an ATV with safety in mind — ATVs can be a safe and fun recreational activity.
One of the major reasons ATV accidents occur is a lack of experience and knowledge about safety protocols for riding an ATV.
The laws for ATV operation differ state by state. Some states do have laws and regulations about the age for driving an ATV and others do not. If you are considering purchasing an ATV for your child, consider where you will be riding and Google the laws in that area to ensure it is legal. However, if you are riding on private property, these laws will not apply.
Never ride an ATV on a public street, no matter how old or qualified the driver is. ATVs are not street legal because they do not have the proper signaling and lighting requirements.
If you are going to purchase an ATV for your child, you need to buy one that is specifically designed for their age. Most ATV manufacturers produce 1-3 ATVs for the youth category and they come equipped with all the necessary safety features and requirements (like a smaller engine and speed control) to make ATV-ing a lot safer for children.
You still need to train your child how to operate an ATV and practice with them in a safe environment before letting them go off on their own.
Advice for Safe ATVing Practices
There are a few things to keep in mind to operate an ATV with safety in mind:
- Take an ATV Safety Course before operating an ATV
- Understand where you can and cannot operate an ATV — and abide by those regulations
- Wear the appropriate attire: Helmet and protective eyewear, long pants, long sleeves, and over the ankle boots
- Ride during daylight hours
- Do not ride alone — or at least let a trusted friend know where you are and when you expect to return
- Ride an ATV that is appropriate for your age, experience, and size
- Know first-aid and carry a kit
- Understand safe speeds for turning and different terrains
- Do not ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Do not ride on public roads
- Do not ride with more passengers than recommended by the manufacturer
- Maintain your ATV to ensure it is in good, working condition
- Kids and teens should not have any passengers when riding an ATV
Safety Recommendations for Kids Riding ATVs
The best safety advice for children and young teens who want to ride ATVs is to train them in a safer environment. Just like you wouldn’t put your child on a two-wheeled bike and immediately let go, kids need training and experience to ride an ATV. Practice in a safe and private environment. Make sure you cover safety and that your kid understands the importance of defensive driving.
A great way to help kids adhere to safety rules is to purchase the right size ATV for their size and experience. You can purchase an ATV with a seat belt, a roll-bar, engine covers, and perhaps most importantly, a speed-limiting device. Together, these added safety features make any mistakes a younger, less experienced driver less catastrophic and more controlled.
We’d be remiss, not to mention ATV insurance. Investing in ATV insurance is well worth the cost. You can expect to pay between $100-$200 per year for basic ATV insurance. ATV insurance is not legally required because ATVs are not street-legal vehicles. Sometimes, however, if you finance an ATV when you buy it, the financer might mandate it.
When you purchase ATV insurance, it protects you in the case of injury or damage to property. For basic coverage, you will always have coverage for bodily injury and property damage. You can add on additional coverage, such as:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Medical payments
- Uninsured/underinsured people
- Collisions (with a deductible)
- Comprehensive coverage (with a deductible)
Can Kids Ride ATVs?
Yes, kids can ride ATV. In fact, ATV manufacturers make certain ATVs specifically for kids and youth riders. These ATVs are smaller, have smaller, less powerful engines, and other added safety features like seat belts, roll-bars, covered engines, and speed-control devices. However, we do not recommend children under the age of 6 ride ATVs on their own.
If you are interested in getting your kid on an ATV, please consider purchasing an ATV designed specifically for children as opposed to putting them on an ATV designed for adults.
Riding ATVs as a family can be an amazing and memorable childhood activity and there are ways for children to ride ATVs safely, but as a parent, it is your role to enforce these safety habits and procedures for your children.
You can try letting your child ride with you on an adult ATV before getting them out on their own. This will help acclimate them ATV riding and understand what to expect when they get out their themselves. Obviously, this is not for children who are unable to hold their head up, walk, or communicate their needs to you.
If you decide to take your child with you on an ATV ride, they need to sit in front, have all the proper safety gear (helmet, pants, goggles, closed-toe-shoes, gloves) and they need to be strapped to the adult driver’s body in some way. You can use a child carrier, bungee cords, or other methods, but because of the rough terrain ATVs are on, this is essential.
If you take your kid out on an ATV with you, you need to take it slow. The only reason you would take your kid with you is to acclimate them to a trail and to the ins and outs of how an ATV works. You should not exceed speeds of 15mph or go over any large hills or bumps or risk tipping the ATV in any way.
Best ATVs for Kids
Like we mentioned earlier, the very best thing you can do if you want your kid to ride an ATV is to get them an ATV built specifically for kids. Almost every ATV manufacturer has at least 1 or 2 kid-friendly/kid-sized ATVs in their lineup.
What is a kid-friendly ATV? An ATV that is designed with riders under 16 in mind (proportionally) and with built-in safety features that benefit young riders such as a covered engine, a roll bar, a seat belt, or built-in speed control.
So what are the best ATVs for kids? Here’s a list of our favorite models on the market today:
Polaris 2022 Outlaw 70 EFI
Age: 6-10 years old
Engine CC: 70cc
Polaris 2022 Sportsman 110
Engine CC: 112cc
2022 Kawasaki KFX 50
Age: 6-11 years old
Engine CC: 50cc
2022 Kawasaki KFX 90
Engine CC: 90cc
Can-Am 2022 DS 70
Age: 6-9 years old
Engine CC: 70cc
Can-Am 2022 DS 90X
Age: 10-14 years old
Engine CC: 90cc
Can-Am 2022 DS 250
Engine CC: 250cc
Yamaha 2021 YFZ 50
Age: 6 and up
Engine CC: 50cc
Yamaha 2021 Raptor 90
Engine CC: 90cc
How to Buy an ATV for Kids
The buying process for youth ATV is actually pretty straightforward. Youth ATVs are much more affordable than an adult ATV and come with more safety-oriented features than costly adult features such as larger wheels, more shock absorption, higher cc engines, etc.
The youth ATV market is fairly limited. Most manufacturers have 1-3 youth ATVs available, and each is usually suited specifically for a certain age — so picking out an ATV that is right for you should be a breeze. The most important consideration is ensuring you find an ATV that is made for your child’s current age.
You have a few options when you are ready to search for a youth ATV. You can:
- Go to a local ATV dealer in your area
- Shop on an online marketplace such as GoRollick.com
Basically, you can choose to find a used ATV or a new ATV. Then decide if you want to try to buy online or in person. Because youth ATVs are designed for specific age ranges, there are a lot of used options out there. If you do decide to go the used route, we recommend having a knowledgeable ATV mechanic taking a look at the ATV before your child rides it to ensure it is in pique operating status. You do not want to purchase a used ATV only to find it has a major engine problem.
Fortunately, most youth ATVs are relatively affordable. Especially when compared to adult ATVs. For this reason, it is less common to finance an ATV, making purchasing used an even more common practice.
Check Out More Helpful ATV Guides and Articles
If you are strongly considering purchasing an ATV for your child or for yourself, you might have other questions about ATVs in general. We have all the resources you might need to better understand how to purchase an ATV, what ATVs you might want to consider, and what to do after you pull the trigger on the big buy. Take a look!
- What is an ATV?
- How Much Does an ATV Cost?
- ATV Tires the Ultimate Guide
- What is the Difference Between an ATV and a UTV?
- The Complete Guide to Selecting the Best ATVs of 2021
- What is an ATV Accident?
- See nationwide inventory, specs, and incentive information
- Get an upfront, transparent price on your desired ATV
- Receive special offers on both the ATV as well as additional accessories
- Take advantage of Bonus Savings plus the option to Buy From Home from select Certified Dealers
- Shop at one of our Certified Dealers who are committed to providing an exceptional buying experience