NEW ORLEANS, La. – Few dealers sponsor ATV training for new or young riders, and even fewer young riders make use of the training when it is offered. So said a national pediatrician group, calling for mandatory training for young riders.
Labels warning that adult-sized ATVs are not suitable for riders younger than 16 does little to deter children from riding the large vehicles, according to new research presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.
The study of ATV crashes involving children also found less than 35 percent of children were wearing a helmet when injured in an ATV crash, and nearly 60 percent were riding again within six months.
In the study, "Pediatric ATV Injuries and Manufacturer Warnings are Not Enough to Change Behavior," researchers surveyed children who were hospitalized at a Level I trauma center following an ATV crash between 2004 and 2009. Families were questioned about their child's injuries, the cause of the crash, ATV features, risk-taking behaviors and safety practices. A follow-up phone survey was given 6 months later. Parents of 44 children completed the initial survey and 44 completed both surveys.
Primary injuries included head/neck (34.7 percent), chest (10.2 percent) abdomen (10.2 percent), fractures (30.6 percent) and soft tissue injuries (14.3 percent). The injuries resulted from collisions (36 percent), rollovers (32 percent) and falls from the ATV (23 percent).
In most cases (82 percent), the children were driving the ATV when the crash occurred, and 61 percent of the respondents acknowledged the presence of a label on their ATV warning against use of the ATV by children less than 16 years of age and against carrying passengers.
Most children had permission to ride the ATV (79.5 percent) and were under adult supervision when they were hurt (63.6 percent). No respondents underwent formal course training for safe ATV operation, although 47 percent reportedly received training from a friend or relative. Only seven were offered informal training by the ATV dealer, of which two participated. (continued)