Go karts are fun to drive and kids love them. Today’s go karts, with their robust steel frames and modern safety features, are safer than ever. However, go karts do present real dangers that parents should educate their children about. By insisting that their children follow a few simple safety rules, parents can greatly reduce their kids’ risk of injury without diminishing their fun.
Image via Flickr by Robbie1
Use Safety Gear
Invest in safety gear and require your kids to use it every time they drive or ride in a go kart. Buy your child a certified helmet from a company such as RedFox Powersports that’s comfortable and allows full visibility. Wearing a well-fitting helmet can prevent concussions, traumatic brain injury, and even death.
A safety harness system is also important. All high-quality go karts have them, but some types are more effective than others. A 3-point harness provides more security than a lap belt, but a 5-point harness is the most effective.
Wear Well-Fitting Clothing
Make sure your kids wear snug-fitting clothing whenever they use a go kart. Loose-fitting shirts, pants, and jackets can get caught in the wheels and machinery, causing injury. It’s also a good idea to have them wear gloves, closed-toed shoes, shirts with long sleeves, and pants that reach their ankles. This will provide an extra layer of protection if they fall out of the go kart.
Stress the importance of driving at a safe speed. Emphasize that driving slowly is smart and that they should drive only as fast as they are comfortable. Kids are more likely to push the limits if they’re riding with others, so make sure they have plenty of experience before you allow them to ride with friends or siblings.
Accidents are more likely to happen at higher speeds, especially if an inexperienced driver is behind the wheel. Counter this by providing professional lessons if your child wants to drive fast.
If your child is very young or drives too fast, you can equip your go kart with a remote emergency switch or an adjustable speed control device.
Make sure your kids understand that they must follow all safety rules when they use their go kart. Explain the rules and consequences before they get behind the wheel, and enforce them. It’s normal for children to forget a rule every now and then, but to protect them, don’t give them too much leeway.
If your child ignores a rule, consider implementing a consequence right away, even if it’s the first time. Losing their go kart privileges for a day is often all it takes. Kids love to ride go karts and losing the right to use one will help them learn how important it is to follow safety rules.
Don’t let these rules scare you. When used responsibly, go karts are relatively safe. If you: (1) invest in the proper safety gear and clothing, (2) teach your children to drive at safe speeds, and (3) enforce your rules, go karting can provide your kids with improved hand-eye coordination, quench their thirst for adventure, and build their self-esteem.