That first taste of freedom is the sweetest. For many of us, it was getting our driver's license, but there's no reason to wait until your child turns 16 to let them feel the wind blow through their hair, even if the wind comes from a 5 mph spin around the driveway in a pedal toy or battery-operated go cart. Don't let the fun end too quickly, though. Most go carts already include a number of safety features such as harnesses, roll bars and hand-brakes. A safer ride is a longer ride, and we've got a few ideas how to add to those features and keep your littlest motorist in one piece.
The Right Size is the Best Size
Make sure that you select the right size vehicle for your child. Pedal-powered go karts are a great choice for smaller children, but as your kids get bigger, a battery-powered go kart isn't a bad choice, either. Many models of both styles include adjustable seats, allowing your child to have a comfortable ride that lets them easily keep their hands on the wheel and their feet on the pedals or brakes, or both. If the go kart is too big or too small, your child may have trouble staying in control and may experience what EMTs refer to as "rapid deceleration trauma" or a "crash".
The Rules of the Road
We don't assume you'll be sending your toddler to the 7-11 in a pedal-powered riding toy to pick up lottery tickets, but as your children get older, there's no reason not to get familiar with basic traffic safety. This is a great preparation for later in life, but can also help keep them safe if they're zooming around the neighborhood in a larger, powered go cart. Driving on the right side of the road, obeying stop signs, wearing your seatbelt (or safety harness) and watching for other drivers at intersections are never bad skills to learn and practice daily. Maybe more adults should practice in go carts, hmm?
The Right Gear for Your Little Gearhead
Let's be honest: Everybody looks goofy while wearing bicycle helmets. Everybody. But a racing helmet and driving gloves have always looked awesome. And if your child wants to look cool and it makes them safer, who are we to argue? Just like the gas-powered go kart tracks, a basic crash helmet and a pair of gloves are never a bad idea. The head and the hands are most likely to be injured in case things go wrong, and if your little one starts taking some extreme corners in a 24- or 36-volt go cart, everyone involved will be thankful for a little extra padding here and there.