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ATVs and other off-road vehicles can be dangerous to operate. For younger riders, the danger can be increased if they ride a machine that’s too big for them.
Manufacturers and ATV safety organizations make recommendations for ATV size based on the rider’s age.
This page will cover those ranges, and answer the question of which size ATV is right for you or your child.
What age can a child ride an ATV?
It is recommended that your child should be at least 6 years old (and of average size) in order to operate a youth ATV.
Smaller kids and children under 6 should not be allowed to operate an All-Terrain Vehicle.
For small kids, it is best to start them on novelty or electric ATVs designed for kids.
An ATV requires the rider to be able to comfortably reach the controls, have the strength to maneuver the vehicle, and have the maturity to make good decisions while riding.
Most ATVs will include a warning label that includes the minimum recommended age for the rider. You should follow these manufacturer recommendations and use your best judgment when allowing your child to ride an ATV.
All children riding ATVs:
- Must wear an approved helmet with all the necessary ATV riding gear.
- Must be under adult supervision at all times.
ATV Engine Sizes & Riding Age Ranges
ATVs come in a variety of sizes and weights. (You can learn more about how much an ATV weighs here.
Certain sizes and types of ATVs are better suited for certain riders and types of riding.
For one, a larger ATV will have a much faster top speed, and will be overpowered for younger riders.
Additionally, a larger-size ATV will typically come with a higher price tag. (You can learn more about how much an ATV costs here.)
Luckily, there are plenty of Youth ATVs to choose from for younger riders, and smaller ATVs will generally be lighter, less powerful, and less expensive.
Refer to the table below to get an idea of the recommended ATV size based on the rider’s age. Note that these age ranges assume that the child is of average size and has the maturity and skill to operate a quad.
Note that some states and public off-road riding areas may have additional minimum age restrictions for ATVs. Be sure to check with your state’s parks department and the off-road area where you plan to ride.
|Rider’s Age||ATV Size|
|Under 6 years old||Novelty, electric ATVs only|
|6 to 9 years old||50cc|
|10 to 12 years old||50 to 70cc|
|12 to 15 years old||70 to 90cc|
|16 years old and up||90cc+|
Most Youth ATVs are equipped with safety features and limiters that are designed to make riding safer for children. Some of these features include:
- Speed limiters set the top speed at 10 to 30 mph.
- Remote kill switches.
- Automatic transmissions.
It is up to you as the parent to decide if your child is ready to ride an ATV, and it is your responsibility to make sure they learn how to do so safely.
Once you’re determined that your child is big enough and mature enough to ride, you’ll need to:
- Educate yourself about ATV safety and operation.
- Teach your child ATV safety, operation, and riding techniques.
- Create a safe, controlled, and supervised environment for them to learn to ride.
What age is a 50cc ATV for?
A 50cc ATV is a great size for children under 16 years old to learn on.
These youth ATVs typically weigh between 175 to 230 lbs, and are designed for smaller riders.
A youth ATV like this will feature controls that are easier for small riders to operate as well as safety features to make teaching your child easier.
Some features you can expect to find on a 50cc ATV include:
- An automatic transmission.
- Speed limiter settings.
- Remote kill switches.
- Top speeds of no more than 30 mph.
If your child is at least 6 years old and new to riding, a 50cc youth ATV is typically the best choice.
What age is a 110cc ATV for?
ATVs over 90cc are typically recommended for riders who are at least 15 to 16 years old with some riding experience under their belt.
While a 110cc ATV will be less powerful than a 300 to 800cc quad, it is a significant step up from a 50 to 70cc quad.
When selecting the right size ATV for your kid, make sure that they are big enough and skilled enough to operate it safely and follow your instructions.