Are drones safe for kids?
Drones are gaining popularity day by day and for a good reason. They are exciting gadgets that have something for everyone.
A drone was previously a complicated tool for specific industries, then it became available for the savvy tech enthusiast, and now it is offered for kids in a form that is more like a toy.
With the buzz around drones, and high demand from children of all ages, many parents are wondering if drones are suitable for their kids, and if that is the case, what measures they need to consider for best results.
Intended vs. Creative Usage
Kids vary in a lot of aspects, but the one thing they have in common is their creativity, or as seen from the eyes of a grown-up: their unpredictability!
While drones are just expected to fly and hover, or maybe do a few tricks, a kid will find other applications you haven’t thought of.
So off the cuff, or from a bit of experience, a drone faceoff which is an equivalent of Robowars could take place, or they could snoop on something they shouldn’t normally be around, especially with the presence of a camera.
All this to them is just innocent fun. It is taking the drones to the ‘next level’. And it is a place you can keep in check by agreeing from the start on some ground rules.
Some Basic Rules
Some districts require drone owners to register their devices with the authorities. Some require this only with certain models.
You should always check if drones are allowed where you intend to go.
People do not like others, or other gadgets, to intrude on their privacy. Respecting their personal space is always necessary.
If your kid would like to photograph others, you should check with them first if they are okay with being photographed.
If the kids are flying their drone in the backyard, make sure that it remains clear from the neighbor’s premises.
Drones can be a bit noisy, so care should be taken with taking them for a spin in the early or late hours of the day.
Letting the neighbors know from the start that your kid has a drone is also a good idea and shows consideration for others.
A parent or other adult should always be around when a kid is flying a drone.
What’s The Right Age?
If a kid has a smartphone, is already into technology, and has been following the latest trends of gadgets, then he/she is probably ready to fly a drone.
Drones have once been a tool used only by certain industries, and their users received extensive training before holding the controllers on their own. These days are now history.
Now kids can operate a drone. But the part where they need prior training, and later on supervision, hasn’t changed.
Many manufacturers label drones as suitable for kids 8+ years old, but some states have explicit guidelines stating that the permissible age starts from 13 years. It’s necessary to check the rules o your area.
We know that preteens are mostly capable of controlling drones, but supervision and guidance from a parent are vital.
Indoors or Outdoors?
Open spaces are amazing places to be in general, and flying drones out in the woods seems to be the most natural thing in the world.
However, first-timers need to be aware that trees are some of the most frequent crashing points for the poor gadgets. So an open field could be a better choice.
Open areas usually have people in them, and it is highly recommended to stay away from where anyone could be injured and to choose times where crowds are less common.
Also, beaches, lakes, or rivers could be a bit of a challenge for new pilots. A dip in the water is likely to damage the drone, and it would be very hard even to retrieve.
Tough weather, like rain or wind, is also not very optimal for a drone. The beginner models are usually very lightweight, and lack stabilizing gear. They would fly much better in brighter days.
Staying indoors is a good idea if the drone is still brand new, but care should be taken to fly it in the big empty room, rather than the smaller cluttered one. Also, stay away from mom’s china sets and crystal vases.
Safety Features to Look For
A basic model might not have all these features, but later on, when a more advanced model becomes appropriate, these are good things to have in a drone.
- Protectors for the propellers
- Altitude hold function
- Durable body and extra spare parts
- Flight control mechanisms
- Device recall
Finding the right drone
A good drone is one that should follow the safety criteria mentioned in the previous section, plus a few other considerations:
Some models are equipped with propeller guards to protect the drone itself from the expected harsh landings of a first-time pilot.
Price is also a factor that will normally be considered. Drones will crash a few times, and either need some spare parts or to be replaced completely.
The design of some drones takes after an aggressive predator, which is aesthetically pleasing to some kids, and they might give it a nickname. Other kids could be encouraged to play rough with the little beast.
The drone design might have an effect on its usage. Usually, parents hope for a smooth ride, so they could pick a friendly looking drone.
The right drone should also be of the right size and weight. If it is too heavy or too big, it could drop, or be too annoying to carry around and operate.
The controllers should be assessed similarly, bearing in mind that kids’ hands are small. The best fit is usually easy to find.
So, Are Drones Safe for Kids?
Kids could be into technology in general, or they might be photography enthusiasts, they might like assembling objects piece by piece, or they might just be happy to spend some quality time with a parent outdoors having fun with a flying object.
In all these cases a drone could be a safe and wonderful gadget to play with and learn from, as long as you follow common sense and some basic rules.