4-Year-Old’s Death Is a Tragic Reminder About ATV Safety

Child ATV deaths are always tragic. In many of those cases, the deaths could have been prevented through ATV safety measures. Those accidents are also reminders that all-terrain vehicles are not toys. A recent news story out of Minnesota stresses the dangers of children on ATVs.

Minnesota 4-year-old dies in an ATV accident

In mid-July, an ATV accident occurred in central Minnestoa involving a 4-year-old. According to the StarTribune, the boy was operating a full-size ATV with his 6-year-old cousin riding on the back. 

The two traveled onto a public gravel road, where the child lost control of the quad, and it began to flip. His cousin jumped off the ATV before it crashed, but the 4-year-old was ejected and died at the scene despite lifesaving measures administered on the scene. 

The Morrison County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation to determine if the boys were wearing helmets and if an adult was supervising them. Though those details haven’t been released, the 6-year-old passenger survived with minor injuries. 

What are the ATV safety rules for children, and how can you keep them safe?

ATV safety, ATV deaths, ATV child death
A stock photo of a childing on an ATV | Danial Shah/Getty Images

In Minnesota, it’s legal for children under the age of 9 to operate an ATV, provided it’s a Class 1 vehicle. They also must ride on private property with the owner’s permission, according to People. In addition, the child must be at least 12 years old to ride on public roads. 

Another rule says passengers aren’t allowed on an ATV operated by a child unless the operator is 12 to 17 years old and the passenger is a parent or legal guardian. 

Statistics show that children account for 30% of ATV-related deaths. To keep your kids as safe as possible, be sure to have them ride a vehicle that’s appropriate for their age and size. 

According to the ATV Safety Institute, parents must set ground rules. Don’t let kids ride without proper safety equipment, and don’t let them operate a quad without a responsible supervisor. 

Other ATV safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep the keys out of the reach of children
  • Don’t allow other kids on an ATV without the other parent’s permission
  • Ensure the child isn’t tired or feeling under the weather 
  • Have them complete an ATV safety training course

In addition, stress to the child that ATVs are not toys. They can be fun and safe, but only if kids take riding them seriously and follow your rules and local and state laws. 

Overview of a model like the quad involved in the accident

The 4-year-old Minnesota boy wasn’t driving a kids’ ATV. He was operating a full-size quad: the Yamaha Grizzly 700, the StarTribune reports. Though we don’t know which model year and trim the boy was operating, we know some details about the 2022 Grizzly 700 EPS XT-R. This model has a 686cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled SOHC (single camshaft) engine with a fuel injection delivery system, according to Yamaha.

Children under 6 should not operate this vehicle. And kids aged 6 to 11 should drive only models under 70cc, which is significantly less than the size the 4-year-old crashed. In addition, this Yamaha model averages 50 inches tall, 81.5 inches long, and 49.2 inches wide. Its seat height is 36.6, while ground clearance stands at 11.8 inches. The wet weight on this model is 783 pounds. Overall, this ATV is too large for a small child to handle. 

Operating an ATV is something anyone can do at just about any age, provided you take the time to learn how to ride one safely and manage one that isn’t too big for your size. If you want your child to begin learning how to ride, seek an ATV safety course that both of you can take, and determine which size machine is suitable for your kid. 

RELATED: This ATV Tragedy Will Make You Think Twice Before Letting Your Kids Ride