Injury report shows all-terrain vehicles not child's play

Nov 26, 2007

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) pose a serious risk of injury and even death, according to the largest study ever conducted of ATV injuries in children. The findings were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

“Our experience shows that children’s use of ATVs is dangerous and should be restricted,” said Chetan C. Shah, M.D., radiology fellow at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

ATVs—motorized vehicles with large, low-pressure tires, designed for off-highway use—can weigh up to 600 pounds and travel up to 75 miles per hour. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 16 be prohibited from operating ATVs, no laws are in place in most states. ATV accidents are seldom reported because the vehicles are unlicensed and typically operated off-road or on private land.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), ATV-related injuries in children under the age of 16 more than doubled from 1995 to 2005 with 40,400 children treated in hospital emergency rooms nationwide in 2005. This figure represents nearly one-third of all ATV-related injuries treated that year. Child fatalities resulting from ATV accidents have also nearly doubled since 1995 with 120 reported deaths in 2005.

“There is nothing ‘recreational’ about a trip to the emergency room,” Dr. Shah said.

ATV-associated injuries can be caused by crashes, rollovers, ejections or even disregard of simple safety precautions. But according to Dr. Shah, ATV use by children is intrinsically dangerous because of the instability of the vehicles and the small size of children. While reducing the size and power of the vehicles and wearing helmets and protective clothing might limit some of the injuries, there still remains the issue of whether children should be riding ATVs at all.

“The question is a little like asking, ‘How can we make motorcycle use safer for five-year-olds?’” Dr. Shah said. “The problem is that five-year-olds should not be using motorcycles under any circumstances.”

The study included 500 consecutive children admitted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital following ATV accidents. The children ranged in age from six months to 19 years (mean age 11.5 years) and included 345 boys and 155 girls. Head injuries included 85 skull fractures, 66 cases of hemorrhage and 59 brain injuries. Spinal injuries included 21 spine fractures and five spinal cord injuries. Lung injuries were present in 36 children. Injuries to the spleen, liver, kidneys or pancreas were found in 70 children.

Extremity fractures occurred in 208 children with broken legs being the most common. There were 12 amputations, including nine partial foot amputations, one upper limb amputation and one below-knee amputation. There were six fatalities and several cases of long-term disabilities. The fatalities represent only the children who died at the hospital, not those who died at the accident site.

Source: Radiological Society of North America

Explore further: Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US to require rearview cameras in new vehicles

Mar 31, 2014

The U.S. Transportation Department issued a rule Monday that will require rearview technology in many new vehicles—an effort to reduce deaths and serious injuries caused by backup accidents.

China rushes relief after Sichuan quake kills 186

Apr 21, 2013

(AP)—Luo Shiqiang sat near chunks of concrete, bricks and a ripped orange sofa and told how his grandfather was just returning from feeding chickens when their house collapsed and crushed him to death in ...

Survey results reveal distracted driving habits

Apr 11, 2013

(Phys.org) —According to experts in the Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) program at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, there were approximately 3,300 deaths and 400,000 ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

11 hours ago

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

18 hours ago

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Treating depression in Parkinson's patients

A group of scientists from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging has found interesting new information in a study on depression and neuropsychological function in Parkinson's ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...