Children are always fascinated with anything that flies in the air and that includes RC toys such as small drones. For parents looking to buy a toy drone for their kids, some factors need to be considered.
Drones are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and not all of them are ideal for children. In fact, some of them should never be given to children. Not too long ago, a toddler in New Zealand was permanently blinded in one eye after he was hit by a drone. This shows how drones can be dangerous when given to children or if they’re flown near them (or any human being or animal for that matter).
Toy drones may seem innocent enough and they make great gifts but in the wrong hands they can be dangerous. Making the right choices when purchasing drones for children is a wise approach any parent or adult should make. Here are 5 tips on how to choose drones for children under 12 years old.
- Size Matters — A Syma X8HG may seem like good value for money but buying one for a child is simply asking for trouble. Children are more likely to fly drones in a haphazard manner compared to adults, blissfully ignorant about the risks these flying machines can pose to them or others in the vicinity. And the bigger the drone, the bigger the threat it poses due to higher top speeds. Big drones are also heavier and can cause more damage compared to smaller ones. Ideally, children should be given drones no larger than a Syma X5UW.
- Safe Propulsion — Thanks to the recent Tiny Whoop craze, small drones with ducted motors such as the JJRC H36 have become very popular. These drones have propellers that are protected by a frame that prevents the blades from causing injury or damage to property. Avoid getting drones that have fully exposed propellers such as the JXD 510G. If you have to get something that has exposed propellers, get something small like the tiny Cheerson CX10WD which has propellers so small they’re hardly a threat.
- Look for Altitude Hold — Toy drones with altitude hold are great for children (and beginners) simply because they’re a lot easier to control. With altitude hold, a pilot can leave the throttle stick at 50% and the drone will automatically maintain its altitude. Drones that do not feature altitude hold require more skill to control and are more likely to crash when flown by inexperienced pilots.
- Protected Batteries — Almost all drones today use lithium polymer (Li Po) batteries which can catch fire or explode when punctured or exposed to high impact. Some toy drones have batteries and battery wires that are partially exposed. This can be a problem especially with children who do not understand that Li Po batteries should be handled with care. Battery wires, when snagged or cut, can cause short circuits which can result in fires or explosions. Ideally, pick a drone that has its battery fully enclosed such as the Syma X5UW.
- Ditch the smartphone app — Some toy drones, such as the MJX 916H, do not come with a conventional RC transmitter (remote controller) and use a smartphone app for control. These apps have transmitter emulators that mimic the controls of a conventional RC transmitter. This may seem like a cool way to fly a drone but it’s not ideal for children since flying a drone using an emulator is a lot harder due to the absence of real control sticks that provide tactile feedback. Toy drones that come with conventional RC transmitters are the better choice for children.
Guest Post by Adrin from TheDroneFiles