Ask a Trooper: Do children need to wear a helmet on an ATV?

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ask a Trooper, By Troy Christianson

Question: I recently purchased a 2018 Polaris Ranger. We have a 2-year-old son, and I am wondering what the laws are? Does he need to be in a car seat or booster seat with a helmet? Thank you in advance.

Answer: When riding ATVs, OHVs and motorcycles on public lands or waters, or on a public road right-of-way, a passenger under age 18 must:

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• Wear an approved helmet.

• Wear a seat belt if provided by the manufacturer.

An approved helmet must meet federal law, which requires the helmet to display the symbol “DOT.” DOT is the manufacturer’s certification that the helmet conforms to the applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. Standard bicycle helmets and hockey helmets do not meet legal requirements.

It is important to keep in mind the size of the child’s head and neck, as well as the weight of the legal helmet. The weight of the helmet may be too heavy for the child’s head and neck to safely support, especially when being bounced around on the trail. Again, bike or hockey helmets do not meet the legal standards and would not provide the level of protection necessary.

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You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at

Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.