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7 Questions Parents Have about Kids ATVs

Purchasing a kids ATV takes a bit of research, and you might have some questions about their safety and use for kids. If you didn’t grow up around ATVs for kids, you might question if they are safe for kids, what safety equipment is required, and how to decide what is the best one for your child.

Don’t worry; we are here to answer all of your questions. As parents ourselves, we know that you want only the best for your children. ATVs can seem like quite an intimidating present for your child, but in the United States, quads are one of the most popular recreational vehicles. Riding quads are fun for the entire family, and you might want to have your younger kids join in with their ATV!

So, let’s dive into some of the common questions parents have about kids ATVs.

1. How Are Kid ATVs Different Than Adult ATVs?

Chances are you’ve seen an ATV, which stands for an all-terrain vehicle, but most of what you’ve seen is designed for adults, not kids. Four-wheelers intended for kids are similar to those designed for adults, but they are smaller in size and have less power.

Kid ATVs are either electric or gas-powered. The electric versions rely on rechargeable batteries and must be plugged into an electrical outlet to charge them. Gas-powered ATV have larger engines, require gasoline, and are better for older children.

You can find versions of ATVs with speed controls for parents that let you monitor how fast your child can drive. Electric quads are designed more for backyard use, but gas-powered models often can handle rougher terrain. They still are smaller in comparison to adult ATVs.

2. Are ATVs for Safe for Kids?

Perhaps the biggest concern a parent might have is whether or not an ATV is safe for kids. Regular-sized ATVs with powerful engines are designed for rough terrain, and they can move at breakneck speeds. Those quads are dangerous and heavy, so they aren’t safe for kids.

Youth ATVs, on the other hand, are smaller and have controlled speeds with additional safety features. Parents need to be vigilant and purchase an ATV that is appropriate for their child’s age and size. If you have a five-year-old, you need to find one that drives at a slow pace, but if you have a teenager, you can look for a quad that drives faster.

little girl riding adult atv

3. At What Age Should My Child Ride an ATV?

The age when you should give your child an ATV depends on the type of quad you want for your child. Each state has its own guidelines and laws about ATVs, and some states do require children to have a safety certificate. Depending on the size of the engine, your child might need to be 16 years old to operate it, but some states allow kids as young as ten years old to ride under direct supervision from their parents.

Most of those laws have to do with gas-powered ATVs. Electric quads can be given to children as young as four to five years old. Those vehicles typically stay in your backyard and aren’t driven in muddy terrain or on streets.

Small, gas-powered ATVs should be reserved for kids who are over ten-years-old, but the larger versions need to be for teenagers. Be sure to match the power and strength of the quad with the age of your child.

4. How Do I Decide Which ATV is Best for My Child?

The best way to decide which ATV is ideal for your child is to consider the appropriate age range recommended by manufacturers of each ATV brand you are considering. Some manufacturers do increase their age range due to liability concerns, but you do need to use common sense when deciding which is best for your child.

Typically, for kids under ten years old, it’s best to stick to electric powered ATVs. These have lower speeds, usually not faster than 8MPH, so they are better for young kids who are still learning how to steer. However, remember that maturity matters. Your eight or nine-year-old might be mature enough to handle a gas-powered engine.

For kids over ten years old, a gas-powered ATV is the best choice. There are different powers when it comes to this style of ATV, so you have to pick the best engine power suited for your child’s age range.

Engine size can help you decide which ATV is best for your child. Parents should pick engines below 70cc for kids between six and ten years old.  You don’t want to give too much speed or power to kids in this age bracket. Kids over the ages of ten years old can have engines between 70cc and 90cc.

Remember that not all children are physically or mentally capable of riding an ATV on their own. Children must be able to operate the throttle, gears, and brakes, as well as move the handlebars to the left and right. Be sure to consider these things before purchasing a youth ATV.

family in park riding atv

5. Does My Child Need Safety Gear?

Yes, absolutely! Safety gear is a must-have for any child with an ATV. Wearing the proper equipment is one of the best ways to ensure your child stays safe. Just like a motorcyclist should wear safety gear, anyone riding an ATV should be protected against the elements.

Here are some of the suggested safety riding gear that your child should have.

  • A Helmet
  • Long-Sleeved Shirt and Gloves
  • Long Pants
  • Boots
  • Safety Goggles

Make sure that you pick a helmet that meets the guidelines set by the Department of Transporation. You don’t want a used helmet either. Believe it or not, helmets are a one-crash item. If your child had a severe spill, you should replace the helmet, just like you would replace a car seat in the event of a car crash.

6. What Are Some Important Safety Features on Kids ATVs?

Parents always should look at safety features on the ATVs before purchasing. It needs to be age-appropriate and safe to use. Anything with moving tires should have some safety features that are reliable and effective.

Here are some safety features to look for on your youth ATV.


You need to have responsive, easy to use brakes, no matter the type of ATV you select. Make sure that the brakes are appropriate for your child’s age, and they will be able to use them without issues.

Low-Speed Throttle 

If you have younger kids, who are new to riding youth quads, having a low-speed throttle ensures your child doesn’t bite off more than they can chew when it comes to the speed. It helps your child stay safe and confident while riding.

High-Speed Lock-Out

If you have younger or inexperienced kids, you want to look for a high-speed lockout that lets you lock the higher speed out. Some have screws that you need to remove to use the higher speed.


Most electric quads don’t have headlights because little kids won’t be out driving them in the dark, but older kids with gas-powered quads might be outside in the dark or bad weather. Headlights provide better visibility for driving in different conditions.

Covered Battery

The battery should be out of reach for your child. You don’t want a curious child to touch it or remove its housing.

full equipped boy on gas atv

7. How Fast Do Kid ATVs Go?

The speed of the ATV has a lot of variables. Electric quads will drive slower than gas-powered ones. On average, you can expect an electric quad to drive between 3 and 8 MPH. Most offer two speeds, letting you lockout the higher speed once your child gets the hang of the lower one.

Gas-powered quads can go much faster and hold more weight. Here are some general guidelines based on engine power.

  • 70cc to 90cc: Up to 20 MPH
  • 110cc: up to 32 MPH
  • 150cc: up to 40 MPH
  • 250cc: up to 45 MPH
  • 300cc: up to 50 MPH

Final Thoughts

Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. Not only do you want to purchase the best gift for your child, but you want to keep your child as safe as possible.

Purchasing a youth ATV should be a serious decision, so take your time. Talk to other parents and local owners of shops that sell youth ATVs. Answer all of your questions about kids ATVs then get the best one for your child!

Jerry is a former motorcycle mechanic. He’s dedicated his life to nuts and bolts of two- and four-wheelers. Pottering around in the garage - that’s, Jerry claims, the best way to spend all evening long. Currently, Jerry Kidd is a consultant at CFMOTO dealer in Chicago, IL, that offers high-performance ATVs and UTVs. The company has been serving for more than 30 years to provide its customers of all ages with heavy-duty vehicles.

Kids ATV Sale