If you aren’t old enough to drive a car, experts say you shouldn’t drive an ATV

Ohio Headlines

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTRF) – Riding around the woods, or down muddy trails, ATVs are a popular source of summertime fun. 

However, they’re also dangerous. 

While adults need to take proper safety precautions too, it’s children who are most at risk.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a simple recommendation to keep injuries down when it comes to riding ATVs. If you aren’t old enough to drive a car, that’s 16-years-old, you shouldn’t be operating an ATV.

The ridership is relatively small among children compared to adults, but disproportionately children are injured and die at much higher proportions than adults do. They’re at much higher risk.

Dr. Gary Smith, Director, Center for Injury Research and Policy, Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

A new study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital looked at injuries in a 25-year span.  

It found nearly 280,000 children under 18 were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal ATV related head and neck injuries.

On average, more than 11,000 children and teens were treated each year. That’s about 31 children per day.

On weekends during the warmer months from April to September, that number increased to 68 per day.

Currently there’s no national regulation of ATV use by children, and state laws vary. It’s important that everybody follows these safety regulations so we can have safe use of these vehicles. 

Dr. Kris Jatana, Pediatric Head & Neck Surgeon, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Almost half of those injuries were in children under 12 and the severity varies.

 Concussions and closed head injuries, as well as fractures. These together account for two thirds of the injuries seen. 

Dr. Kris Jatana, Pediatric Head & Neck Surgeon, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Doctors say most of these injuries are preventable. So, wear the safety gear. 

They also highly recommend following the age guidelines. 

Passengers should always be prohibited and ATVs should only be ridden off-road. Never on a roadway.

Dr. Gary Smith, Director, Center for Injury Research and Policy, Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Another important note about the study. It found that children injured on roadways were more likely to be admitted to the hospital for their injuries.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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