Love them or hate them, there’s no escaping the fact that kids love to drive around in powered vehicles. While my “need for speed’ was taken care of by a bike, children now ride around on motorized scooters , go karts and other fun toys.

ATV’s, or All Terrain Vehicles, are just one more offshoot of this toy craze.

The good news is, there are ATV’s for kids of all ages. The right, age-appropriate four-wheeled toy can bring hours of fun and teach important life lessons as well.

Here’s some suggestions for four wheelers for kids and teens. After our picks, you can find more information on how to size and select the right model for your child.

Best Kids ATV

Peg Perego Polaris Outlaw Childrens Ride on Toy
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Power Wheel Dune Racer
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Razor Dirt Quad
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TAO TForce ATV 110CC Engine
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Tao ATA 125D Gas Powered ATV
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Peg Perego Polaris Outlaw Children’s Ride on Toy

Realistic looking, the Peg Perego Polaris Outlaw’s knobby wheels provide traction on grass, dirt, pavement, and gravel. It can even ride in 8-10” snow. The wheels, however, will get stuck in too deep soft snow. The pink ATV is perfect for girls and the citrus ride for boys.

Two safety features to keep your kids safe are the automatic brakes and the second gear lockout. When the kid takes their foot off the accelerator pedal, the ATV brakes automatically. Parents can control the speed with the 2nd gear lockout feature.

The battery will last for 2-4 hours riding time, depending on the speed and the terrain. Initial battery charge is about 18-24 hours.

Two- year warranty on the electrical parts and six months on the batter, charger, and wheels.

Age Range: 3-7 years

Power Source: Electric: 12V Rechargeable battery

Max Speed: Two speeds: 2.5-4.5 mph plus reverse

Load Capacity: 85 lbs.

Power Wheel Dune Racer

The Power Wheel Dune Racer is a perfect social toy. This little beauty has enough space to bring a friend along to enjoy the adventure ride. Monster traction system navigates driving over rough obstacles in the backyard like hoses, tree roots, and slippery wet grass. Take toys or snacks on the adventure by storing it safely in the storage compartment under the hood.

Interior of the cockpit is smooth with round edges for a safe ride. The metal sidebars add additional hand support. Power brake system kicks in automatically when the driver takes their feet off the accelerator.

Age Range: 3-7 years

Power Source: 12 Volt rechargeable battery

Max Speed: 2.5 and 5 mph.

Load Capacity: 130 lbs.

Razor Dirt Quad

The Razor Dirt Quad is designed for a smooth ride on the most robust adventure with the terrain-tracing droop-travel rear suspension with a coil shock suspension and 13-inch pneumatic knobby tires. The sturdy, stylish black four-wheel ATV is made for tough terrain and big bumps.

Adjustable handlebars accommodate the child’s height. The hand-operated twist-grip twist-throttle helps the rider to control the speed, acceleration, and the rear disk brake.

Age Range: 8 years and older

Power Source: Electric: 24 Volt Battery

Max Speed: 10 mph

Load Capacity: 120 lbs.

Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler

Get them started young on the Jeep lifestyle!

The Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler is realistically styled to look like a red Wrangler with the distinctive Jeep roll-bars, grille, and rugged front and back fenders. The wide tread tires navigate for a smooth ride over wet grass, hard surfaces, and rough terrain.

The large cockpit and robust adventure wheelbase ensure that there is enough legroom for the driver and a friend in the passenger seat. A rear storage area has enough room to hold the’ toys and ‘stuff’ of the off-road adventurer.

Age Range: 3-7 years

Power Source: Electric: 12 Volt Rechargeable Battery

Max Speed: 2.5 and 5 mph forward and 2.5 mph backward

Load Capacity: 130 lbs.

TAO TForce ATV 110CC Engine

When your child is ready to move up from the tepid pace of electric into something faster, the TAO TForce is a great next step. While top speed is listed at 30mph, this one-cylinder engine isn’t likely to sustain that speed during normal off-road fun.

The double-A-arm front and single swing-arm rear suspension should give a smooth and safe ride. Large 18” rear and 19” front wheels will navigate over rough terrain and gives a seat height of 29 inches from the ground with 6” clearance. There’s enough legroom for teens 14 years and older.

Headlights and racks at the front and back add to the look.

Features include front hand brake and drum rear foot brake, electric start, and the option to reverse the ATV. It comes 90% assembled with videos on how to install the rest.

Age Range: 12 years and older

Power Source: Ga:s 110 CC engine 4-stroke 1 cylinder

Max Speed: 25-30 mph

Load Capacity: 150 lbs.

Tao ATA 125D Gas Powered ATV

Another choice for a gas-powered kids ATV is the Tao ATA.

The engine has enough power to reach nearly 40 mph at top speed. The hand-operated F-N-R shift gears and front hand brakes make braking easy and give the option of reversing the machine. A remote kill switch allows parents to turn off the ATV any time. Speed control can be governed as low as 5 mph; as the child grows older parents can adjust the speed.  

The ATV is available in four colors:  the black spider, red spider, army camo and pink for girls. It’s perfect for 5-10-year-old with enough legroom for the taller kids.

The 16-inch tires, throttle limiter, and remote shut-off take care of safety precautions from parents’ perspective while kids have fun over the roughest terrain possible. A full tank of gas is slightly less than a gallon and should give you 60-70 mpg.

Age Range: 7 years and older

Power Source: Gas: 110cc  4-stroke 1 cylinder

Max Speed: 40 mph

Load Capacity: 143 lbs.

What Features Should I Consider When Buying an ATV for My Child?

Power Source

The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a Safety Alert regarding the engine size that is age appropriate:

  • 48-70cc for age 6-11 years
  • 70-90cc for ages 12-15 years
  • Over 90cc for 16 years and older

Electric ATVs are lower maintenance than gas-powered ATVs. With about 40 minutes riding time, the battery is easily recharged for next time. No worries of running out of gas or spending money to buy gas before the next ride.  

The downside of electric power is lower speeds and carrying capacity. IF you are on a farm or a ranch your child will really need a gas-powered ATV.

Top Speed

Electric ATV models’ top speed is generally lower than gas-powered ATVs which is something to consider for younger kids. The faster they ride, the higher the risk of losing control over the vehicle.

Many ATM has speed control parents can set and increase as the child grows older and more experienced in handling the ATV.

Safety Features Built-In

Check the laws and guidelines of your state before purchasing an ATV. You’ll find up to date information on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website (https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/ATV-Safety-Information-Center/State-ATV-Information) Although ATVs are legal to ride, accidents do happen. ATVs can be difficult to handle depending on the model, how it’s made, and the physical and emotional maturity of the kid.

Therefore, it’s important to consider the safety features built-in as part of the design.

  • Riders need to learn how to use the brake system effectively to prevent sudden sharp braking. Hand operated rear disc brakes are safe to maneuver. Some ATVs have separate controlled front and rear brakes.
  • Twist-grip acceleration is easy to control.
  • Headlights will light the terrain in front of the vehicle making it easier to see what is ahead and how to handle or avoid the obstacle.
  • Coil springs with shock absorbers suspension systems give the most control and smoothest ride. Balloon tires cause rougher rides, and it’s easier to pitch sideways when the ATV is driven at high speed.
  • Footrests and fenders designs should safeguard against feet slipping off and getting caught under the rear wheel.
  • Exhausts and mufflers should be safeguarded. Prevention of build-up of flammable debris near exhausts will avoid unnecessary fires.  
  • Quad wheelers are safer than three-wheeler ATVs because a four-wheeler is less likely to overturn.
  • Single speed automatic transmissions are safer options for novice riders. Power is more cntrolled, and the automatic clutch avoids accidental rear overturns.
  • Supervisory parental control safety features may include a remote kill switch, throttle controls to limit the speed, and exhaust restrictors to reduce power.   
  • Storage space under the hood or at the back may be safer than carrier racks. Objects on carrier racks may block the rider’s vision or shift the balance of the ATV making it unsafe.

Safety Measures

Wearing safety gear is vital considering the high speed, rough terrain, and open cockpit. Kids should wear a helmet, safety goggles, gloves, above-ankle boots, long pants and long-sleeved shirts that cover their arms and legs.

Routinely checks to ensure safety belts, clasps and straps are in working condition. Maintain the ATV in optimum performance by checking for wear and tear and repairing parts immediately.

An approved safety certification course will teach the child how to operate an ATV safely.

Consider your child’s physical strength, visual perception, and coordination skills when purchasing a specific ATV. The child’s emotional maturity, ability to focus, decision making, understanding cause-and-effect, and other mental maturity skills are as essential to determine the right ATV for the child.

For more information use the ATV Safety Readiness checklist (https://atvsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/ATV-Safety-Readiness.pdf) to make sure your child is ready for the ATV you’ve chosen for them.

The height of the Child/ATV

If your child can ride a bicycle, the chances are good that they can handle an ATV, but test it first. According to ATV Safety Institute, there should be at least 3 inches clearance between the ATV and the seat of child’s pants. Let the child stand on the footrest of the ATV while holding onto the handlebars to measure the height of the child compared to the ATV.

Check if the child can move the handles all the way and if they can use the controls correctly. They must be able to squeeze the brake handles hard enough with one hand and be able to operate the throttle.

Weight Limit

Compare the child’s weight to the weight limit prescribed by the manufacturer; it should be similar. Avoid the safety risk of buying an ATV that is too big for the kid; the child won’t be able to control the ATV sufficiently to ensure a safe ride.  

The child should be able to balance their weight and know how and when to shift their body to maintain balance.

Why Buy One For My Child?

It’s fun! It’s recreational for the whole family.

The exhilaration of riding an ATV encourages outdoor exploration, stimulating the imagination and desire for adventure. Quad-wheeler ATVs are built like small cars and are easier to handle than dirt bikes, for example. It’s, therefore, possible for young kids to take part in action sport from a young age.

While the kids are having fun outdoors, instead of watching TV or playing video games inside, handling the ATV teaches them the responsibility to adhere to safety regulations, be mindful of passengers and other riders, and to take care of the ATV.

ATV teaches kids independence. When used for doing chores like scraping snow or hauling firewood, for example, they learn to function on their own without constant parent supervision. While joyriding on the ATV, they learn the basic principles of operating machines which will come in handy when driving a car or motorbike as an adult.  They’ll be less inclined to recklessly show-off their driving skills because they appreciate safety rules.

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