ATVs Not Only Off-Road Risk for Kids
More Than 1 Million Kids Hurt From 1990 to 2003 in ATV, Dirt Bike, and Other Motorized Vehicle Accidents
WebMD News Archive
July 2, 2007 -- All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) get lots of attention when it
comes to off-road safety for children, but so should motorized dirt bikes,
go-carts, and other vehicles, a new study shows.
The researchers estimate that from 1990 to 2003, more than a million kids
and teens visited U.S. hospital emergency rooms because of accidents
involving nonautomobile motorized vehicles including ATVs, dirt bikes, mopeds,
go-carts, scooters, golf carts, riding lawn mowers, boats, dune buggies, mini
bikes, trail bikes, farm vehicles, and snowmobiles.
The number of ATV and non-ATV injuries rose throughout the study period,
with ATVs leading the injuries in all years studied.
In 1990, there were 33,500 ATV-related injuries and 14,000 non-ATV injuries.
In 2003, there were 59,300 ATV injuries and 31,700 non-ATV injuries.
The researchers who conducted the study on kids' off-road injuries included
Christy Collins, MA, of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Children’s
Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
They reviewed information from a national hospital database and from the
U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. Their findings, published in the July
edition of the journal Pediatrics, include safety warnings for parents
Off-Road Safety Tips for Children
Based on the findings, the researchers make three recommendations to
help prevent kids and teens from getting injured on ATVs and other motorized
First, they recommend restricting kids younger than 16 from riding
two-wheeled, three-wheeled, and four-wheeled motorized off-road vehicles.
Second, they urge children 16 and older to always wear appropriate
protective gear, including helmets and eye protection, when riding ATVs and
other motorized vehicles.
Third, "parents should be aware of the risk of injury that nonautomotive
motorized vehicles pose to all children, including passengers and bystanders as
well as drivers," they write.
ATVs and Other Off-Road Vehicles
Cuts, scrapes, fractures, sprains, and strains accounted for most injuries
noted in the study. Patients were about 12 years old, on average. More than
three-quarters were boys.
Roughly nine out of 10 children were treated and released from hospital
However, the researchers estimate that 1,900 children died of their
injuries. More than half of the deaths -- 58% -- were related to ATV use.
The study doesn't reflect accidents in which kids didn't seek emergency