NEW ORLEANS – 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.
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 Product Safety Commission 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
trauma center 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 safety practices. A follow-up phone survey was given
6 months later.
of 44 children completed the initial survey and 44 completed both surveys.
Primary injuries included head/neck (34.7 percent), chest (10.2 percent)
abdomen (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).
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 adult supervision 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.
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
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.
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.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary
care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical
specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants,
children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.