Kids and ATVs — What Are We Thinking?

I’ve been writing my kids’ health column, "Health Notes," for more than a decade, and every year, I receive the same sad statistics on kids and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Too many kids are dying here. Enough already!

More than 100 children died in ATV accidents in 2006 (the most current data available), according to the CPSC. An additional estimated 146,600 people were treated in emergency rooms for ATV-related injuries. More than a quarter of those were kids.

Pennsylvania has had the highest number of reported ATV deaths since 1982, followed by California, West Virginia, Texas and Kentucky. Every state had at least one death related to ATVs. Most of the deaths and injuries to children are the result of kids riding adult-size ATVs.

In more than 75 percent of the incidents where the vehicle’s speed could be determined, it appeared that the ATVs were going too fast for conditions. In nearly 60 percent of the deaths, riders were not wearing helmets. That’s just plain nuts. For younger riders, ages 6 to 11, about 30 percent of the ATV accidents involved collisions and at least 27 percent involved ATVs that rolled over.

Let’s get real. These things aren’t toys. They require proper instruction, helmet use, adult supervision and the proper size ATV for the child. Young kids simply can’t handle adult-sized ATVs safely. The CPSC — and emergency-room docs — can only ring the warning bell. It’s up to parents to do the rest.

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2 Responses to “Kids and ATVs — What Are We Thinking?”

  1. Jamie says:

    Your absolutely right about the dangers of ATV’s. They can be fun and a great way for the family to spend time together, but safety really needs to be stressed and we never let our kids ride with out Dad’s supervision.

  2. Used ATVs says:

    It’s alway nice to read “common sense” in a world that sometimes seems to be loosing it. ATVs are fun, but we can’t let our quest for fun or our kids enertainment turn into a danger for them. Great balanced post on ATV saftey. Thank you.