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Despite consumer safety warnings, a new study shows that children under 16 continue to ride all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) –even after suffering serious injuries.
“Although ATVs have surged in popularity over the past several years, they pose significant dangers for children 16 and under who simply do not have the physical strength, cognitive skills, maturity or judgment to safely operate ATVs,” says Rebeccah Brown, MD, associate director of Trauma Services at Cincinnati Children’s and the study’s main author. “These are hefty motorized vehicles that weigh up to 600 pounds and are capable of reaching speeds of up to 85 miles per hour.”
The study was presented Oct. 22 at the 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics national convention in New Orleans.
From 1982 to 2010, more than 11,000 people died in ATV crashes, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Children under 16 accounted for one of every four deaths. Of the children who died, 43 percent were under age 12. In addition, more than 28,000 children received emergency care after being injured in ATV crashes.
Brown and colleagues studied five years’ worth of ATV-related admissions to Cincinnati Children’s Level 1 Trauma Center. Among the findings:
“ATV manufacturer warning labels are largely ineffective, and ATV training is infrequently offered to most ATV users,” says Brown. “Mandatory safety courses and licensing, and enforceable helmet legislation, are needed to reduce ATV use by children.”
Children under 16 continue to ride ATVs even after suffering serious injuries.
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