Chris Cribari, MD, FACS
- Use of ATVs has rapidly increased in rural America and so has the number of ATV-related injuries and deaths.
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports up to 90,000 ATV-related injuries per year and 120 deaths.
- 50 percent of the injuries and fatalities involve children under 16 years old.
- Risk of injury is 2.5 times greater if the driver is under 16 years old than for drivers ages 16–34, and 4.5 times higher than for drivers ages 35–50.
- Poor judgment and risk-taking behaviors are often factors related to accidents.
- Helmets were worn by only 30 percent of patients.
- Skin and orthopaedic injuries are the most frequent injuries reported.
- Head and facial injuries are second most common.
- 61 percent of fractures are classified as open or comminuted.
Mechanisms of injury
- Loss of control of vehicle and fall from vehicle (most common mechanisms)
- Collision with stationary or moving objects
- Fall from vehicle
Landscape features that influence ATV accidents and injury
- Cliffs or steep drop-offs
- Rocks and ditches
- Frozen lakes, rivers, or streams
- Wooded areas
- Sale of ATV to children under 16 prohibited in 1988.
- Consent decree restricting access to children under 16 not effective in reducing incidence of injury in children.
- Hands-on training programs; some are now linked to manufacturer warranty eligibility.
- Encourage consumers to dispose of three-wheel ATVs still in use.
- Future safety efforts must focus on reducing childhood injuries.
- Health care providers should utilize "teachable moments."
- Adults must be role models by embracing and teaching practical preventative measures.
- Parental education concerning:
- ATV risks for children under 16
- Use of safety equipment
- Use of helmet
- Restriction of use
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