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Small motorcycles and electric cars as Christmas gifts: what precautions should you take?

Motorcycles and small electric cars as Christmas gifts: what precautions should you take?


There is a huge difference between a toy electric scooter and a registered motorcycle, obviously, but when it comes to driving with them the dangers faced by both riders are pretty similar. In the case of toy electric vehicles, we are referring to those small, plastic ones with a small engine that barely reach a higher speed than the child's walking pace.

We also refer to all kinds of mini-motorcycles, mini-quad bikes and even mini electric cars (such as buggies or karts) which, despite their low power and the fact that they are not authorized for use on the public highway, can reach speeds that entail a serious risk in the event of a collision.

For example, mini-motorcycles are small mopeds that weigh less than 45 kg, have engines lower than 4 CV and can reach speeds of between 40 and 65 km/h, but these are the most basic ones of all as there are other mini-motorcycles capable of driving at over 100 km/h, though these models are generally designed for competition purposes. Whatever the case, these vehicles can be operated by children from the age of four and, generally speaking, by any schoolchild.

In the case of buggies (whether electric or with a combustion engine), quads and any other kind of 2, 3 or 4-wheeled vehicle, parents and children alike must observe a series of basic safety rules that nobody should ignore.

The most common injuries caused by ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) are to the head, which are the most serious injuries and the ones that cause the most fatalities. These are followed by serious, but not fatal, injuries to the head, spine and abdomen as well as multiple injuries. Abrasions, lacerations and fractures to the collarbone and limbs are very common though less serious.

Our first recommendation is that both parents and children must be aware of the risks involved in driving these small all-terrain vehicles (and we don't mean toys) around the garden or a private estate. Falls are very likely, and it is essential to make sure you are properly protected. This means that both a helmet (for motorcycles, not bicycles) and body protection should be mandatory for children.

In the case of more powerful ATVs with higher speeds,  under-16s should never be allowed to use them without supervision and the appropriate training, as at these ages children have a poor sense of speed, but most importantly the consequences if something unexpected happens can be very serious.

For everyday use we recommend that children never take passengers on these small vehicles as injuries tend to happen to the passenger, and above all never use them on the public highway but in fenced-in or protected areas where you are unlikely to come into contact with other pedestrians or vehicles.

You should adopt every possible safety measure in place for two, three and four-wheeled vehicles, including helmets and protective gear (goggles, and in some cases elbow, knee and shoulder pads), belts in the case of three- and four-wheeled vehicles (such as buggies), and treat them as what they are: not toys but vehicles.

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