Injuries, manufacturer warnings do not deter ATV use by children under age 16

October 22, 2012, American Academy of Pediatrics

All-terrain vehicle (ATV) manufacturer warning labels aimed at children under age 16 are largely ineffective, and formal dealer-sponsored training is infrequently offered and deemed unnecessary by most young ATV users, according to new research presented at the Oct. 22 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.

Children under age 16 suffer nearly 40 percent of all ATV-related injuries and fatalities in the U.S. each year, despite warnings from the AAP and the Consumer against child ATV use. 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 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 . A follow-up 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) (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 warning 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 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.

While respondents reported frequent use of safety equipment (77.6 percent) and wearing a helmet (65.9 percent) "frequently/sometimes" prior to the crash, only 36.7 percent were actually helmeted at the time of the crash. Post-injury, 59 percent of the respondents continued to ride, and there was no significant change in risk-taking behaviors including wearing helmets or safety gear, riding on paved roads, performing difficult maneuvers, and children continued to carry or ride as passengers on ATVs despite warning labels against this activity.

"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," said study author Rebeccah L. Brown, MD, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center."These are hefty motorized vehicles that weigh up to 600 pounds and are capable of reaching speeds of up to 85 miles per hour.

"ATV manufacturer warning labels are largely ineffective, and ATV training is infrequently offered to ATV users, most of whom deem it unnecessary," said Dr. Brown. "Mandatory safety courses and licensing, and enforceable helmet legislation, are needed to reduce ATV use by children.

Explore further: Multiple riders, lack of helmet use, and faster ATVs contribute to pediatric injuries

Related Stories

Multiple riders, lack of helmet use, and faster ATVs contribute to pediatric injuries

October 17, 2011
As all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use continues to grow, so does the number of injuries. Children comprise about one-third of the 130,000 to 150,000 ATV-related emergency department visits each year and one-quarter of the more ...

Most dealers willing to discuss selling an adult-sized ATV for child use

October 22, 2012
Despite a new federal law that prohibits the sale of adult-sized all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for use by children under age 16, most ATV sellers are willing to discuss doing so, according to new research presented Oct. 22 ...

Recommended for you

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

NeuroNext biomarker study explores natural history of infantile-onset SMA

January 9, 2018
Research led by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to define the natural history of infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has been "critical" to accelerate the development of effective therapies and hasten ...

No link between childhood lead levels, later criminality

December 27, 2017
(HealthDay)— Exposure to higher levels of lead during early childhood can affect neurological development—but does that mean affected kids are doomed to delinquency?

Early puberty in girls may take mental health toll

December 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—A girl who gets her first menstrual period early in life—possibly as young as 7—has a greater risk for developing depression and antisocial behaviors that last at least into her 20s, a new study suggests.

Technology not taking over children's lives despite screen-time increase

December 21, 2017
With children spending increasing amounts of time on screen-based devices, there is a common perception that technology is taking over their lives, to the detriment and exclusion of other activities. However, new Oxford University ...

Higher blood sugar in early pregnancy raises baby's heart-defect risk

December 15, 2017
Higher blood sugar early in pregnancy raises the baby's risk of a congenital heart defect, even among mothers who do not have diabetes, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.