It’s not easy saying no, but ATVs aren’t meant for kids

Wheatland County farmer and pediatric nurse Sarah Schultz says she’s seen too many kids injured in ATV accidents

ATVs seem stable, but most children and youth are not physically or developmentally ready before age 16 to ride them safely.
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Does an idyllic childhood in the country have to involve quads? For Moose Jaw, Sask., farmer Julie-Anne Howe and other safety-minded parents, the answer is no.

Of allowing her children to ride quads, “it’s just not a smart decision in my world,” Howe says.

Most jurisdictions do not restrict children from operating quads or all-terrain vehicles on private land, but many farm families are already making the smart choice to keep their kids off quads until they’re old enough to drive.

Howe and husband Kelly have both lost friends to quadding accidents, so the family is especially sensitive to the dangers of ATVs.

“We were both raised on farms and farm safety is important. We err on the side of caution,” says Howe.

It’s a sentiment echoed by southern Alberta farmer and pediatric nurse Sarah Schultz who operates a grain farm with her husband Jay in Wheatland County.

In the operating room, Schultz attended to children of all ages seriously injured in ATV accidents. The experience strengthened her resolve to keep her boys, currently five and two years old, away from ATVs until they’re old enough to get a driver’s licence.

“I might not be a ‘cool’ farm mom… but this is something I will not budge on,” she wrote on her blog, in September.

In fact, the family doesn’t even own an ATV.

“My husband grew up a farm kid and generally farm kids are allowed to operate motor vehicles earlier than urban kids,” says Schultz. “But my husband also knows the injuries I’ve seen from ATV accidents, so he lets me ‘win’ on this issue in our home.”

March 14 to 20 is National Farm Safety Week. Why not take some time today to review the facts about ATVs and make sure you and your family are using them safely?

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