Off-highway vehicles

Overview of concerns and recommendations

Children and youth are at special risk for off-highway vehicles (OHV) injuries and deaths as they lack the knowledge, physical development, cognitive and motor skills to safely operate the vehicles.1

Therefore, Parachute supports injury prevention measures including legislating age-appropriate OHV usage, driver education, and the proper use of protective equipments as well as banning passengers.

Legislating age-appropriate usage

OHVs pose significant risks, including death, to child drivers, passengers and pedestrians. According to data from the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP), serious injuries have occurred to children in recreational areas, on roads and highways and on farms. 

All terrain vehiclesParachute joins a number of injury prevention organizations in calling for OHV regulations based on scientific evidence and reflecting the benefits of automobile legislative efforts, including a minimum driver age of 16 years. Parachute would also recommend a legislated minimum driver age of 16 years to commence OHV driver training programs.

We are very supportive of the principle of OHV driver training; however, we do not have enough evaluation research at our disposal to recommend a particular training approach. As outlined above, Parahchute recommends legislating a minimum age of 16 years for commencing driver training. However, in the absence of legislation preventing the operation of OHV by children under 16, Parachute does recognize the value of educating younger riders in rural and farming communities for the purpose of work and travel. 

As hospital data indicates that head injuries are a serious risk of OHV incidents, Parachute advocates the use of appropriate helmets and clothing during OHV use for people of all ages.


Ontario Medical Association position statement (pdf)
Alberta position statement - ATV's are not for kids (pdf)
All terrain vehicle provincial legislative chart (pdf)
Canadian Paediatric Society - Snowmobile position statement (pdf)


1 Canadian Paediatric Society. Preventing injuries from all-terrain vehicles. Paediatrics & Child Health 2004;9(5):337-40.