All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) are off-road vehicles for recreational use. They are very popular in Alabama, but with the thrill comes major risks.
Emergency department physicians at Children’s of Alabama treated more than 230 cases of ATV-related traumas in the past three years. Nationally, more than 100,000 ATV-related traumas are treated every year in emergency departments and more than one-third of those cases involve children under the age of 16.
Generally, ATVs can be unstable and prone to tip over. ATVs are more dangerous than bicycles and 12 times more likely to result in death.
Dr. Kristyn Jeffries is a resident physician at Children’s of Alabama. She has a personal experience with the dangers of children riding ATVs. A family friend lost their 11-year-old daughter due to an ATV accident. “That’s why I’m so motivated to prevent this tragedy from happening to other families,” she says. Jeffries is working closely with the staff at Children’s to promote ATV safety.
If a family does allow their child to ride on an ATV, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has important recommendations to help keep children safe.
ATV Safety Recommendations:
- Drivers should be at least 16 years old
- No passengers should ever ride on an ATV
- Always wear a helmet, eye protection and reflective clothing when riding an ATV
- Never drive an ATV on roadways
Jeffries says these recommendations are not only from the AAP, but from ATV manufacturers as well.
Jeffries also advises that it is not safe for an adult to hold a child while riding on an ATV.”Children who are younger than 6 years old are at highest risk of being thrown off of ATVs,” she said.
Riding an ATV is never without risk. Even when a rider takes proper precautions, they still may get hurt. That’s why Children’s of Alabama and the Injury Free Coalition for Kids have partnered to educate children and adults about ATV safety. They are available to speak to schools. To schedule a speaker, call 205-638-9587.