Pediatricians and child safety advocates have long known of the dangers involving children and adult all-terrain vehicles (ATV). However, according to a new study, children who ride adult-sized ATVs may have the highest risk of suffering fatal injuries in an accident.
According to the study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, fatal accidents were most likely to involve children riding adult-sized ATVs, or not wearing a helmet while riding. In 95% of the fatal ATV accidents analyzed in the study, the victims were riding large vehicles at the time. In spite of all the media attention on the dangers of these vehicles, far too many parents allow their children to drive adult-sized ATVs. Your child should not ride in an adult-sized ATV, even as a passenger.
Here’s a fact many parents may not know; in the United States, more children die in ATV accidents than in bicycle accidents. That’s partly because the dangers of riding on such vehicles isn’t fully appreciated by parents.In addition, the great majority of children do not have the kind of physical or cognitive maturity that is needed to operate an adult-sized ATV.
The study’s results were based on an analysis of fatalities in ATV accidents between 1985 and 2009. The number of fatalities involving children in these accidents increased significantly between 2001 and 2004, which some believe is linked to the popularity of heavier ATVs during this period of time.
Apart from riding adult-sized ATVs and failing to wear helmets while riding, the researchers also identified other factors that increased the risk of a child dying in an accident. These included:
· Riding an ATV on the road
· Riding as a passenger on an ATV
· Carrying a passenger on an ATV
If you intend to buy your child an ATV, take special care to keep him or her safe, which includes:
· Attending training classes before he begins riding an ATV.
· Insisting on the use of helmets and eye protection gear while riding.
· Banning the use of the ATV on open or paved roads.
· Buying a smaller- sized ATV.
· Avoiding the temptation to buy an ATV for a child who is below the age of 16.
· Making sure that only your child rides the ATV during the day time.