ACH gives the crash and bang truth about ATVs
In Arkansas, it is almost as common to own an all-terrain vehicle as it is to own a dog. These small recreational “toys” potentially pack as much power as a small car. So what’s the problem? Our children are the ones operating these high-powered machines.
ATVs are motorized vehicles with large, low-pressure tires designed for off-road usage. ATV models can weigh from 100 to 600 pounds (the average weight is 550 pounds) and can travel up to 75 mph. In a Department of Health and Human Services survey, 826,000 U.S. children under 16 years of age operate ATVs. ATVs are more prevalent in the South and Midwest than any other region in the United States.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital has seen 33 ATV injuries so far this summer; while last summer, ACH saw 58 ATV crashes total. These accidents range from broken arms/legs to internal bleeding to massive head trauma, even paralysis or death.
Timothy Burson, M.D., chief pediatric neurosurgeon at ACH and assistant professor at UAMS, sees the worst of the worst. Burson has dealt with concussions, skull fractures, brain injuries/hemorrhages, broken necks/backs and death. He also deals with patients whose injuries leave them comatose, paralyzed or in need of permanent facilitated care.
“People don’t understand how powerful these machines are,” he said. “Individuals have a false sense of security with 4-wheelers because of the focus that only motorcycles are bad.”
Moreover, it is the kids who are paying the high price to enjoy such recreational activities. One of the main reasons is because “more than 90 percent of all victims are not wearing a helmet,” according to Burson. “Kids are riding ATVs that are too big, too fast and too powerful at too young an age with no helmets.”
Accidents often occur because of immature judgment, lack of driving skill, risk taking and riding with extra passengers. Below are some safety tips for parents, teens and kids to remember about ATVs.
- ATVs are not toys.
- ATVs are not designed for passengers.
- Riders should wear motorcycles helmets or helmets with face guards.
- Children under 16 years-of-age should not operate ATVs.
- ATVs should be operated during daylight hours, with proper adult supervision.
- Equipment to handle medical and mechanical emergencies should be carried at all times.
Dustin Armstrong contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.all-motorcycle-helmets.com.
A buyers guide to all types of motorcycle helmets plus shields, googles, custom and wired radio helmets.