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Children Are at Risk

Nationwide, children under the age of 16 are at risk of injury and death when operating an ORV. Several factors contribute to this risk.

Lack of Visual Adult Supervision

Physical Factors: A major cause of accidents among juvenile riders is riding a machine that's too large for them to handle physically.

  • Leg Length: When a child stands on the footrests, the top inseam of the pants should be a minimum of three inches above the seat. While seated, the thigh should be roughly parallel to the ground.
  • Foot Length: A child should be able to reach the brake by rotating the foot on the footrest.
  • Arm Length: When seated on the machine, a child's arms should be long enough to:
    • Turn the handlebars and maintain a firm grip.
    • Operate the throttle comfortably.
    • Operate the brake lever.
  • Strength: A child must have the strength to operate the controls properly.

Perceptual, Motor, and Maturity Factors: Children up to age 16 are at risk when operating ORVs because they:

  • Perceive distances to be greater than what they actually are.
  • Have a shorter attention span than adults.
  • React more slowly than adults.
  • Take more risks—particularly males—and perceive less danger in those risks than adults.
  • Try to imitate more complex maneuvers of parents or older friends.

Safety Tip

Consult your owner’s manual for information on the proper use of safety belts and the child safety restraints available for your model. Improper installation of a child safety restraint/seat or the carrying of a person too small to properly use safety belts can pose additional risks.