In desert cities like Las Vegas, ATV riding is a fun extracurricular activity for kids and parents alike. In the past, many studies have shown that ATV's are dangerous and send many children to the hospital each year. A new study is putting some fresh data behind the numbers, and estimates that over the past decade about 360,000 children were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for ATV injuries.
In 2004, the amount of ATV injuries for children peaked with an estimated high of 67 per 100,000 becoming injured. Thankfully, the interest rate has dropped since that time, and since 2010 it has dropped to almost one-third of the past statistical rate.
The U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission also released a report in March that discovered a decline in ATV rider injuries between 2010 and 2011. In 2011, the report notes that 57 children that are under the age of 16 were killed in ATV crashes, and that many more were injured. A pediatrician from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Nationwide Children's Hospital says that we can comfort in the fact that the number of ATV accidents is declining. Yet that doesn't negate the fact that children are still getting injured while participating in this activity every year.
Professionals believe that the current decrease in ATV accidents isn't because the practice is getting safer. Instead, many assume that the lower accident rate is in connection with the financial recession. People are hesitant to buy ATVs or pay for the gas to ride the ATVs with financial budgets tight at present. Many vehicle crash rates have declined in recent years because of the recession, and will spike once the economy improves.
A study published in the medical journal Pediatrics reports that boys are twice as likely to be injured on ATVs as girls are, and that preteens that are between 11 and 15 have the highest rate of injury. About two-thirds of all child injuries happened to children in this bracket, who are normally considered old enough to operate the vehicle alone but are not responsible enough to do tis properly. Most children with ATV injuries are treated and released on the same day from the emergency room. Still, another 13% of injuries result in hospitalization and further treatment.
The most common injuries from ATV accidents are broken bones, scrapes, and cuts, but about 30% of all injuries to children under the age of five are to the face, head and neck.