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Report Says ATV Accidents Are A Health Issue For Children

All-terrain-vehicle-related injuries are a public health problem, and children are more adversely affected than adults, according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Their findings were published in the March online issue of the Journal of Emergency Medicine. The researchers found that the major risk factors for young riders are preventable. They also learned that injuries children sustain from ATV-related accidents are frequently more severe than injuries received from motor vehicle crashes, according to the study's lead author.

The report said: "All data pointed to young driver age and lack of appropriate safety equipment as major risk factors for such injuries. Although these risk factors are modifiable, legislation and programs designed to mitigate such risks have been unsuccessful."

Rollovers Are Most Common Cause

The researchers used ATV data from 2013, the most recent reporting year from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The data showed:

  • An estimated 99,600 ATV-related injuries in the United States required at least emergency department treatment.
  • Approximately 25 percent of the injuries were in children under age 16.
  • Factors related to high rates of death and injury for children are: engine power, inexperienced drivers, lack of safety equipment and risky driving behavior.
  • The most common causes for ATV injuries among children are: vehicle rollover, collision with a stationary object and ejection from the vehicle.

The report said efforts to reduce risks have been largely unsuccessful and a new approach is needed. Peer-to-peer interventions have shown promise in changing risky behaviors in other areas but have not been studied with ATVs, the study said.

Research to define effective means of changing ATV-riding behaviors in children will be crucial in reducing pediatric injury and death, the study said.

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