Children account for more than 25 percent of all-terrain vehicle-related injuries and the risks that contribute to those injuries are “entirely preventable” according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
“The injuries children sustain from ATV-related accidents are frequently more severe than injuries received from motor vehicle crashes,” said Dr. Thomas Pranikoff, professor of pediatric surgical sciences at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and lead author of the study published in the March online issue of the Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Pranikoff his team reviewed data from 16 published studies conducted from 2000 to 2010 on the epidemiology and risk factors of ATV-related injuries in U.S. children.
There were 99,600 ATV-related injuries that required at least emergency treatment in the U.S. in 2013, the most recent reporting year from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Of those, about 25 percent were children younger than 16.
More powerful machines, younger drivers, lack of safety equipment and risky driving behavior, are factors that appear to contribute to the relatively high rates of death and injury for children, Pranikoff said.
The most common causes for ATV injuries among young riders are vehicle rollover, collision with a stationary object and ejection from the vehicle.
“Unfortunately, legislation and programs designed to reduce risks have largely been unsuccessful so we need to try a different approach to reduce injuries,” Pranikoff said.
Peer-to-peer interactions and brief interventions using motivational approaches have show promise in changing risky behavior in other situations, but haven’t been studied in relation to ATVs.
“As ATV use continues to rise in the United States with bigger and faster machines becoming more prominent, research to define effective means of changing ATV-riding behaviors in children, whether implemented in hospital, school of other settings, will be crucial in reducing pediatric injury and death,” Pranikoff said.
Co-authors of the study are: Dr. Andrea Doud; Marcia McCall, M.BA.; and Laura J. Veach, Ph.D., of Wake Forest Baptist; Regina Moro, Ph.D. of Barry University in Miami; Stephen Gray Wallace, M.S., of Center for Adolescent Research and Education in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; and Michael D. Smith, P.S.Y.D., of Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
Support for the study was provided by the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett