All-terrain vehicle-related injuries are a huge problem across the United States, and we see more children affected than adults. According to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the major risk factors for young riders also are entirely preventable.
Their studies show that the injuries children sustain from ATV-related accidents are frequently more severe than injuries received from motor vehicle crashes.
Researchers reviewed data from 16 published studies conducted from 2000 to 2010 on the epidemiology and risk factors among ATV-related injuries in American children.
Data from 2013, the most recent reporting year from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, showed that there were an estimated 99,600 ATV-related injuries in the United States that required at least emergency department treatment. Of those, approximately 25 percent were in children under 16.
The factors that appear related to the relatively high rates of death and injury for children are more powerful machines, younger drivers and lack of safety equipment and risky driving behavior. The most common causes for ATV injuries among young riders are vehicle rollover, collision with a stationary object and ejection from the vehicle.
One of the biggest dangers is when children are given free rein to use an adult-sized machine, like an ATV. The truth is that ATVs are often driven by children too young for a driver’s license, and allowing them access to these machines that are prone to flipping over and rolling is just not a good idea. It is very easy for kids to lose control of these machines, as ATVs can reach speeds above 50 MPH. Most parents would not allow their child to drive a car at that speed, and cars are outfitted with airbags and seat belts, where ATVs are not.
ATV accident victims can suffer severe injuries and even wrongful death. Traumatic brain injuries are common for ATV accident victims, and these injuries usually require long-term medical care.