The summer of 2020 was unique for many reasons – and unfortunately one of them was due to an increased number of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents reported in children.
“We’ve seen at least six children under the age of 17 requiring hospital admission for ATV-related accidents since May,” explains Dr. Stephen Smith, an emergency physician at Hennepin Healthcare. “These injuries are preventable, and we want to remind parents to put safety first when allowing their kids to ride on or drive these fast-moving vehicles.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under 16 – who are too young to have a driver’s license – should not be allowed to operate or ride off-road vehicles. In Minnesota, ATV operators born after July 1, 1987 and OHM (off-highway motorcycle) riders under the age of 16 are required to complete an approved safety course before riding on public lands.
“Rollovers, crashes, and falling off ATVs are some of the ways injuries can occur,” said Hennepin Healthcare Trauma Prevention Specialist Julie Philbrook, RN. “That’s why following safety guidelines and wearing helmets and other proper protection is so important.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there have been 19 deaths associated with ATVs so far this year.
From 2014-2019, Hennepin Healthcare’s Pediatric Level I Trauma Center admitted 61patients with injuries related to ATVs. That’s an average of 10 pediatric patients per year who are age 17 and under.
“What’s alarming is that the average age of the patients we’ve seen so far this year is 8,” said Philbrook. “We understand that it’s important to have fun, but there’s nothing fun about a serious injury that confines you to the hospital – or even worse, one that costs a life.”
HCMC is a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and public teaching hospital located in downtown Minneapolis offering a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient pediatric care.