Snowmobiling is fun, but it can also be dangerous, especially for children. Many children are seriously injured each year, sometimes fatally, by operating or riding on a snowmobile.

According to the Canadian Hospital Injury Reporting and Prevention Program, the main causes of child snowmobile-related injuries are losing control of the machine, and being thrown off or colliding with an immobile object, such as a tree or another snowmobile. Children have also been seriously injured as passengers or while being towed behind a snowmobile in a tube or sled.

Safety tips

  • Every rider should wear a snowmobile helmet on every trip.
  • Children under the age of 16 should not drive a snowmobile.
  • Children under age six should not ride as passengers on snowmobiles.
  • Don’t use “kid-sized” snowmobiles, despite their smaller size. They are still not safe for children’s use.
  • Snowmobile drivers should receive instruction in the safe operation of their machine by an instructor. Contact your provincial or territorial snowmobile association.
  • Ride on trails that enforce rules and promote safe driving.
  • Never tow a person behind a snowmobile – this is a high-risk activity.

For more information, contact your provincial or territorial snowmobile association, Ministry of Transportation or The Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations at 807-345-5299.

Children and snowmobiles

Snowmobiles are powerful and heavy machines, weighing up to 270 kg (600 lb) and reaching speeds of more than 100 km/h. The size and power of snowmobiles make them inappropriate for a child’s smaller body size.

Manufacturers now make “kid-sized” snowmobiles but paediatric injury experts warn against using these machines. Regardless of a child’s size, their motor skills, perception, field of vision and judgment capabilities aren’t equal to an adult’s. These differences in development are the reason we have a legal driving age for motor vehicles on our public roads.