Today we have a guest, Whitney Hollingshead, educating us about keeping our families safe on ATVs. It’s getting warm out there, so it’s time to start thinking about all the ways to have fun and be safe at the same time. It is possible and necessary.
Samantha and I are interested in this topic because we camp and ride ATVs in the summer as a family. It’s a fun way to spend time together and everyone enjoys it. It would be awesome if we didn’t hurt ourselves in the process. So, without further delay, here is Whitney.
ATVs: A Guide to Keeping Your Family Safe
Author: Whitney Hollingshead
The weather is warming up across most of the country and many families are eager to get outdoors. With so many options for outdoor activities, how will there ever be enough time to enjoy everything? If your family loves motorized fun outdoors, this is a great time to make sure you are properly educated on ATVs and how to operate them safely when children are involved.
According to the estimates of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, ATV injuries in America result in 100,000 visits to the emergency room each year. The average hospital bill for an ATV injury is $27,400. Every year for the past ten straight years, over 200 children have died from ATV related injuries.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, no child under the age of 16 should ride an ATV. The main reason for this is simply that ATVs are not designed for small bodies. Obviously, the easiest way to keep your child safe from ATV injuries is to keep them away from ATVs; however, if you do allow your children to ride them, here are some safety precautions you need to enforce:
Safety Certification: Many states offer certification programs that require completion of a safety course. Do some research online to find out the rules in your state. Some states even offer dual certification programs for both ATVs and snowmobiles. If the state does not require certification, enrolling your child in a safety course is still important. While following the law will always be important, so is keeping your children safe.
Supervision: Make sure that your children have constant supervision when operating ATVs. If you ask someone else to supervise, make sure you can trust that they will enforce safety standards. In addition, any supervising adult must be completely free from the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Clothing/Gear: Kids should always wear approved helmets and eye protection, no matter the length of the ride. Even in warm weather, it’s important to wear long sleeved shirts and long pants. Feet should always be fully covered in closed toe shoes that have good traction on the soles.
Operating Rules: Always select the most age and size appropriate ATV available. If the right size is not available, don’t be afraid to tell your child that it’s simply not safe to ride the larger ATVs. Older ATVs with three wheels are especially dangerous so always keep your children away from these vehicles. Never allow your children to carry passengers, as ATVs by design are intended for single riders (even if they appear to have extra seats attached). Choose an off-road area that is relatively free of dangerous obstacles. ATVs should never be used on streets. Never allow your children to ride at night.
Just having your children around ATV vehicles can be dangerous, whether the children are actually riding the vehicles or not. Here are some additional safety tips to keep in mind:
Make sure that children are not wandering around any area where others are operating ATVs.
Keep children away whenever ATVs are being loaded or unloaded from other vehicles or trailers.
For loading and unloading, make sure you have the right ATV loading ramp and that it is securely attached.
Remind your children to never hide or climb under an ATV, even if it is just parked in the garage.
Never leave gasoline or oil in a location where children can get to it.
Never leave the keys attached to a parked ATV.
Never keep ATV keys in a place where children can easily find them.
Follow safety precautions as an adult rider too. Setting an example of safety for your children is really important. In addition, if you get injured in an ATV accident, your injury will most likely affect your children too.
Riding on ATVs can be a lot of fun; however, no amount of fun is ever worth risking the life of any child. Take ATV use very seriously, especially when it comes to children. Making safety a priority in your family will make it possible for you to enjoy fun adventures for decades to come.
Whitney Hollingshead is an optimist, a dreamer, and a professional writer. She loves learning and sharing tips, tricks, and fun facts with others. In her spare time she thrives on coming up with fun and creative solutions for everyday opportunities, especially when the solutions enable her to spend more time with family and friends.
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