Having an all-terrain vehicle on the farm is undoubtedly beneficial to day-to-day operations. But before you hand the keys to the ATV over to your children for daily chores, there are a few checkpoints for adults on the farm to take into consideration.
Our friends at Cultivate Safety have compiled a list of ATV safety tips that’ll help ensure the children on your farm are safe and prepared for the responsibility of operating an ATV. As the adult, make sure:
- All ATV safety features are in place
- The engine size is appropriate for the child
- The ATV is in good working order
- The child does not operate the ATV after darkness or in bad weather
- The child does not operate a three-wheeled ATV
- There are no hazards in the work area
- The child knows a safe route to the work site
- The child can communicate with an adult at all times with a cell phone or walkie-talkie
- The child wears a DOT approved (or equivalent) helmet with eye protection
- The child wears long sleeves and pants
Some of the main hazards facing anyone who operates an ATV are overturns and collisions with fences, trees and other obstacles on the property. ATVs can weigh up to 600 pounds! That’s a lot of machine to control, even for an adult.
Just as you’d want to be comfortable before taking on that much power, so should a child.
The ATV Safety Institute recommends having your child show that they know the location and function of the key controls of the ATV before riding. Ask children to point out where to find the brakes and parking brake, the throttle control lever, the engine stop switch, and shift lever.
One of the keys to maintaining a safe farm for children is the responsibility of an adult. Practice these safety tips for yourself and lead by example.