ATVs are popular in Texas. They are commonly used for recreation but are also used for work on farms or ranches. What many people don't realize is that all-terrain vehicles can be especially dangerous for kids. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children are involved in about 30% of all ATV-related deaths or emergency room visits.
"Parents need to remember ATVs are not designed with children in mind. While they initially appear to be a fun source of entertainment, riding ATVs can quickly turn into a dangerous situation and we want to help prevent a traumatic injury from occurring," says Marisa Abbe, Ph.D., Manager of Injury Prevention at Children's Health℠.
ATV riders can experience anything from roll-overs to wrecks, which can include serious and in some cases life-altering injuries like impalements, burns, broken bones or other internal trauma including brain damage. The AAP recommends children under 16 not ride or drive ATVs. However, if you do use ATVs, follow these safety tips to help avoid injury.
ATV safety tips
1. Do not let your child ride an adult ATV.
Choose the right size all-terrain vehicle for your child. Engines 70cc and up are too fast for kids younger than 12 years old.
2. Riders – whether a child or adult – should wear a proper helmet.
Proper helmets for ATVs are those traditionally designed for motorcycle use. Make sure to protect your arms and legs too with long sleeves and pants.
3. Only one person should ride an all-terrain vehicle at a time.
Oftentimes in ATV accidents, passengers who should not have been on the vehicle suffer injuries. Most ATVs are meant for one person. If there is not a seat, do not get on the vehicle.
4. Never drive ATVs on paved roads.
ATVs are hard to control on pavement because wheels can't act the way they should, which can be dangerous. Only ride all-terrain vehicles off-road.
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