Study finds adult-sized ATVs unsafe for children

A review published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS) shows adult-sized ATVs are dangerous for children.

Though only 15 percent of ATV riders are children younger than 16 years old, youth accounted for 27 percent of ATV-related injuries and 28 percent of ATV-related deaths, according to the study.

“The incidence and severity of injuries has increased dramatically during the past 10 years, and most of these injuries are preventable. Unfortunately, there is a high prevalence of life-threatening injuries, such as head injuries, abdominal injuries and thoracic injuries,” orthopaedic surgeon and lead author of the review Dr. Jeffrey R. Sawyer said in a press release.

Rollovers were found to be the most common cause of injury. Children in those crashes suffered lower extremity fractures from legs being pinned beneath the vehicles and partial or complete foot amputations from the foot becoming caught in the chain. Also, riders have received head and neck injuries after striking clotheslines or fences.

The study also found orthpaedic injuries are the most commonly reported ATV-related ailment, and in 80 percent of accidents, the victim was the driver rather than a passenger.

“Children are going to ride ATVs, so they need to do it safely,” Sawyer said. “These are motor vehicles, not toys, and parents should use the same guidelines they would when allowing their children to drive cars. For example, you would not let your 10-year-old drive a car, so why would you let him or her drive an ATV that can weigh hundreds of pounds and go up to 100 mph? The most important ways to prevent injury are adult supervision, helmets, protective clothing and age-appropriate vehicles.”

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