Doctors caution parents of ATV dangers following a cluster of injuries among kids.
Emergency medical staff at the American Family Children’s Hospital is seeing a lot of injuries related to ATV use, a favorite summertime activity in Wisconsin. Pediatric emergency medicine director Joshua Ross says there’s really no safe all-terrain vehicle. “It’s important, I think, for parents and families to recognize that ATVs are motorized vehicles.” He explains, “They can go very fast and can be very dangerous, particularly for children that are smaller than adults and whose motor skills aren’t quite as mature and certainly their judgment is not as mature.”
In March and April, five youngsters have been taken to Children’s Hospital at UW Madison, with ATV-related injuries. A nine-year-old boy died. An estimated 130 children nationwide die each year and approximately 40,000 kids under 16 are seriously injured, according to the Safe Kids Coalition.
Dr. Ross treats those wounds: “Broken bones and head injuries from not wearing a helmet.” He has also seen severe injuries when rollover incidents crush a child’s chest. Other common injuries nationally include running into an object, such as a tree or another vehicle, and being thrown from the ATV at a high rate of speed.
Ross says a child is physically smaller with developing motor skills and immature judgment. State law does not require kids to have training or special equipment when using ATVs on family farms. Ross recommends parental supervision and a helmet. The law is more strict for kids riding on the trails.
Dr. Ross makes it clear, he’s not condemning their use, which is a reality in many families; he’s focused on reducing injuries and death.
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