Canadian Pediatric Society: Kids under 16 should be banned from riding ATVs

The All-Terrain Quad Council of Canada (AQCC) strongly disagrees with the statements made in a position paper written by Natalie Yanchar and published on the Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS) website in its Position Statements and Practice Points, stating that all youth under 16 years of age should be banned from riding ATVs, according to a news release from the AQCC.

To read the report from the CPS in its entirety, click here.

Although some medical professionals believe the best way to prevent injuries is simply to prohibit all children under age 16 from riding ATVs of any size, safety practitioners advocate measures to manage the risks, recognizing that the young people most at risk are likely to ride ATVs anyway, according to the AQCC. They advocate a combination of enforceable regulations, training and public education, and mandatory use of vehicles engineered for children, the AQCC said.

The AQCC urges governments to assess the lack of depth of these studies, and instead rely upon the ATV safety experts, who are the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Canada Safety Council (CSC). These organizations do not recommend a ban as the most effective way to improving safety.

The Canada Safety Council maintains that to ban the use of ATVs by children under age 16 would be a mistake. Enforcement would be difficult (if not impossible) on private property and in northern and rural communities where ATV use is common, and not just for recreation. A ban could also result in the removal of youth-size machines for sale in the market place. Youth would be put at risk if their only choice were to ride an adult size ATVs. Age-appropriate ATVs will help prevent accidents.

CPSC studies found that around 90 percent of injuries to children under 16 occur on adult-sized ATVs. The CPSC also says children younger than 16 on adult-sized ATVs are twice as likely to be injured as those riding ATVs designed specifically for youth.

“The AQCC is actively involved in rider safety education and training,” said Wayne Daub, AQCC general manager. “Through the Canadian AQCC Safety Institute (CASI), AQCC offers its national CASI ATV RiderCourse. The CASI ATV RiderCourse is the most up-to-date ATV Safety Course in Canada, which incorporates both theoretical learning and hands-on practice for adults and youth.”

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