ATVs for Kids, what you need to know. There are several choices for parents, who like me, want to provide their child with a quad. Depending on our needs and interests, our ways and the available space. I will try to enlighten you about the many possibilities. More so, I’ll tell you about laws relating to this issue, as well as offer you some advice.
1. Electric quads (power wheels)
In my view, these are more like toys than quads as such. These are carrying toys powered by a 6-volt battery (speed reaching 3.2 k/h (1.9 m/h) that allow many hours of pleasant driving for the little ones. They are designed especially for children under 5 years (maximum of 20 kg/44.1 lb.) by toy industry companies. The looks of the toys are interesting. Several models are available to consumers, from the image of the hero of our children to a copy close to that of real quads. They are light and battery powered so there is no danger from fire. No law relates to this kind of mini-quad. No obligation of wearing safety equipment or insurance is necessary. It remains an ideal choice for very young children, which initiates them gently into the motorsport world.
50 cc and less.
We are talking of real gas-powered quads. Specifically, mini-replicas of adult quads, but limited to a maximum speed of 50 k/h (31 m/h). They are also specially designed for children, but for children with a weight less than 50 kg/110.2 lbs. (children of 5 to 8 years). It is important to respect maximum weight, in order not to affect the power output of the quad, but also to avoid premature wear of the clutch. The new models are equipped with remote controlled start and stop. This controller allows parents to stop the quad if the child moves too far, or, if instructions given are not followed. They are also equipped with a flange screw (performance limiter), used to control the speed of the quad. The screw is located at the level of the hand accelerator on the handlebars and by squeezing or releasing it, it allows the child to learn speed control. Some models even feature a safety strap to hang from the belt (if you fall, the strap detaches and cuts the engine).
3. 110 / 125 / 150 cc
The 110 cm3 motor is just like a children’s 50 cm3 model running on gasoline, but for children between 50 and 70 kg/110,22 et 154,3 lbs. It is recommended from the age of 10 minimum, while the 125 cm3 motors are recommended from the age of 14. It should be noted that all quads of 100 and 125 cm3 are suitable for adults of less than 90 kg/198.4 lbs. All are equipped with a single cylinder 4 stroke air cooled engine. They can reach speeds of up to 70 km/h (43.4 m/h), so children driving quads should already have a good knowledge of this kind of vehicle. Simply, the larger the engine strength is, the more imposing the size of the motor and the more need to be vigilant. Children quad fans could be tempted to go for a ride on their beautiful machines, but it is forbidden to drive in trails, on roads or any path open to the public on a quad or three-wheeler.
To increase our sense of security, recent quads include handguards, chain guards and a bumper. These are additional assets for the protection of your young driver. However, child security should be supported by the obligation of wearing a helmet, goggles, over the ankle boots and gloves which are part of the basic equipment to carry. Long pants, long sleeve shirt are also a must and if your budget allows it there are many other safety gear items readily available. For the more adventurous children, a shock-resistant outfit would be even better (chest protection). Of course, it is important that the outfit and equipment are adapted to the size and age of the child, if possible a close fit to the body so not to mingle with the wheels or the mechanical parts of the quad.
Remember that recent mini-quads are equipped with flange screws to control speed, with a remote start and stop controller, as well as a safety belt (see photos). All this with the aim to reassure Mom and Dad while allowing them some significant control. In all cases, children should be driving under the supervision of parents for maximum security.
INSURANCE AND LAWS
Buying a quad, means getting insurance. I contacted an insurance broker who told me that virtually all companies provide insurance policies for small or large quads without problem. The quad should be registered and should not have been transformed or modified a any way.
However, while reading the insurance contract small print, you will find out that only drivers 16 years and more are insurable. One needs to read between the lines that our tiny pilots are not insured in case of accidents, it is therefore at our peril to let them drive.
Obviously, there are laws related to the use of mini-quads as well as regular quads. First, per Légis Québec and the off-road vehicles Act, a person under the age of 16 years may drive an off-road vehicle, only during a competition held in accordance with the standards set out in a regulation made or approved by the Minister of Education, leisure and Sport, under this Act. In other words, any person under the age of 16 cannot drive mini-quads if not for a recognized competition. In addition, it is forbidden to circulate on the federated trails, on the roads or on roads open to the public with a mini-quad. In other words, our children are not allowed to drive mini-quads. If we let our children do, it’s once again at our own risk, remembering that we won’t have insurance coverage if an accident were to happen.
Mini-quads are on sale everywhere, on the street, on the net by large companies, from well-known retailers, on used equipment resale sites etc. It is possible to legally register mini-quads if they meet basic requirements. It is possible to get insurance on mini-quads, but it is ILLEGAL to use them. I have consulted with sellers of mini-quads, Internet forums, owners of mini-quads and everyone has his opinion and beliefs, but few know the details of the current law. Even knowing all this, a maniac like me won’t restrain from buying a mini-quad. A less well-informed parent will no doubt say: they sell mini-quads, they insure them, there should not be a problem. The problem is the gray area. As everything appears normal, less informed buyers ‘rely’ that our Government has thought about everything and feel protected while actuality the situation is quite different. What would happen if a child gets hurt badly? Unfortunately, nothing good, except for incomparable costs and of huge problems. I understand that the Government has other priorities, that a mini-quad Act is not, but things should just be CLEAR and provide the right information to everyone. Due to a lack of clear laws, I tell myself that my article will hopefully help some parents.
In conclusion, I’m far from the idea of discouraging some of you to buy a mini-quad for your child. On the contrary, I hope to have shed some light on the different types of available quads and have warned you against false beliefs. A well-informed parent about laws, present and vigilant when the child is using the quad, will be spending many hours of pure pleasure. In my opinion, seeing the sparkling flame in the eyes of our little ones, at the sight of their beautiful quad, is worth the risk.