I had just recently read an article about “all-terrain vehicles” and helmet use, when I received a call that a friend had been involved in a accident on an ATV while on vacation. One of those “odd” coincidences. My friend suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs…..very lucky, and he was not wearing a helmet!
The CDC recently conducted a survey to estimate the frequency of ATV riding among kids between the ages of 12-17 years. They found that about 25% of youths responded that they had ridden an ATV in the last year. Males were found to ride more frequently than females.
(not a surprise). Geographically, there were more riders in the South, lower in the Northeast, and rural areas had more riders than urban areas.
But…only 45% of riders reported always wearing a helmet!! Twenty percent of riders reported wear a helmet “sometimes”, while 10% reported that they seldom wore and helmet and 25% admitted to NEVER wearing a helmet. Interestingly, riders who rode more frequently were more likely to wear a helmet.
ATV accidents are quite common. The AAP has advocated prohibiting the use of ATV’s by children under 16 years of age. Statistically, between 20-25% of injuries and deaths secondary to an ATV accident are in children under the age of 16, with deadly ATV accidents peaking between 14-15. Head injuries occur in at least 60% of ATV deaths. Helmet use is associated with reduced risk of traumatic brain injuries, but unfortunately the CDC survey shows that many teens continue to ride without helmets.
It seems that many vacation destinations worldwide will often offer ATV excursions or rentals. Parents need to be aware of the risks involved while riding an ATV with their children or having their children driving one alone. As my own children used to say, “everything we think is fun, you think is dangerous”, and I am sure I said that many times. They have also ridden ATV’s and as far as I am aware always with a helmet.
Whatever your views, parental supervision and helmet use is one way to help prevent serious injuries. Be safe, listen to the rules of the road and wear a helmet! My friend was truly fortunate.