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Tips on teaching your children about ATVs and UTVS

Jun 12th 2018

ATVs with the K-I-Ds: Tips on teaching your children about ATVs and UTVS Kids love to imitate what their parents and older siblings do. If you want to teach your kids how to be safe around and on ATVs and UTVs, here are a few tips to get you started. We won’t tell you how to parent your kids—but we will give you some helpful advice when the going gets rough. Safety We’ve all seen the guys---and girls—who do crazy things without the proper safety gear. It might look cooler, and sure, they could be highly-trained, but the pavement doesn’t care if you’re a pro or a rookie. You’ll be hurting either way. A helmet is essential for any riding, even around the yard or property. A bicycle helmet should do the trick, but if your kid is pretty accident-prone, knee and elbow pads might also be in order. Proper shoes are key as well. Tennis shoes are ideal, or even strong boots. Long pants and sleeves will act as another barrier to protect exposed skin, and gloves come in handy when things get messy. Whatever trouble your child can get into on a bicycle, they’re liable to double that risk in an ATV or UTV, since these motorized vehicles are capable of greater speeds. Respect Your kids can probably spell it, but do they know what it means? Respecting any operating vehicle is all about knowing its potentials—good and bad. ATVs and UTVs can make a great hunting trip an awesome adventure, but they can also cause accidents, and even worse, fatalities. Let’s put aside the worst-case scenario for the moment, but the reality is there and present: just like your everyday automobiles, ATVs, and UTVs must be respected while in and out of use. The first step in establishing this respect between rider and machine is to show your children how to operate it. As much as you emphasize what is cool about your ATV or UTV, make sure you stress the importance of knowing what to do in an emergency situation. How does the ATV stop? If your child has a problem with the UTV, what should they do? Giving clear instructions on what to do when things go wrong—and training your children to remember those actions—is key to minimizing any injuries in the event of an accident. Ride Along The best way to demonstrate the potentials of your ATV or UTV is to have your child ride along with you. Now, while it may not be the safest exercise, it is better to have them in front of you and in your sight while test-driving, rather than joy-riding it when you’re not there. Keep to slow speeds and narrate your actions clearly. You might say, “this is how we start the ATV,” or, “if we want to turn, we let off the gas and turn the handlebars slowly.” If you feel confident, allow your child to take over for a bit. Let them feel how the ATV or UTV responds and what each action they take results in. This is all part of the learning process. Proper Care It’s great to have fun together, but at the end of the day, storing your toys is just as important. Like a pet, your ATV/UTV needs looking after, especially if you want to keep it in top shape for the long-haul. Whether it’s “Daddy’s” or “Mommy’s” ATV or UTV, or a possession of the whole family, maintenance and upkeep will teach your children responsibility. Your ATV/UTV might need to be hosed down and washed, or you might just need to make sure it is stored correctly in a shed or garage. Whatever your preference, make sure your kids know that when the fun is done and the day’s come to an end, the ATV/UTV needs to be stored as you asked. Otherwise, their privileges could be revoked. Have Fun, Be Safe, and Make Memories Teaching your kids to care for and ride your ATV or UTV can seem like handing a stick of dynamite to a minor, but if you take the time and do it right, you might be surprised at the results. Allow your kids to show you what they can do while staying safe and having fun. Who knows? Maybe the next time you head out hunting, you can make it a family outing. Show your kids that ATVs and UTVs can be fun, and we’re confident they’ll be begging you to take them on just one more ride.