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Kids and ATVs: Injuries on the Rise

Children Suffer Amputated Feet and Broken Necks in Accidents Involving All-Terrain Vehicles

Small Size Places Kids in Danger

According to Shah, ATV riding by children is intrinsically dangerous because of their small size.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 16 be prohibited from operating ATVs.  "I don't think any state is talking about restricting ATV use by children," Shah notes.

Shah says that when parents ask him if using a helmet might reduce the risks, he replies that's like asking if your kid should be smoking low-nicotine or high-nicotine cigarettes.  "They should not be smoking at all," he says.

RSNA spokeswoman Katarzyna Macura, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, tells WebMD that she thinks most parents aren't aware of the danger they are putting their kids in when they let them ride on ATVs.

"This is striking data that shows that although ATVs are often labeled safe, they can cause a variety of traumatic injuries," she says.

Shah adds, "Even if 10% of parents stop putting their kids on ATVs [after hearing this data], we'd achieve a lot today."

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