1000 SW Jackson Suite 230
Topeka, KS 66612-1274
(785) 296-8649 (FAX)
NHTSA Region VII
Dennis Cooley, MD
American Academy of
SAFE KIDS Coalition
Kansas Safety Belt
Fire Marshal's Office
Kansas Hospital Association
Safety Experts Remind Parents:
No Children Under 16 on ATVs
The number of ATV-related injuries has been increasing steadily. The latest statistics available show that over 136,000 persons were injured in 2004. Unfortunately, injury and death rates are highest among children – one-third of the injuries happened to children under the age of 16. While a helmet can reduce the risk of head injuries, there are no safety devices that adequately protect against other injuries commonly sustained while riding ATVs. Accordingly, Safe Kids Kansas recommends that children under age 16 should not be allowed to ride an ATV under any circumstances.
ATV rollovers, collisions and ejections can cause instantly fatal head injuries as well as serious nonfatal injuries to the head, spinal cord and abdomen. A child riding an ATV is four times as likely to be seriously injured as a rider over age 16.
“ ATVs are inherently difficult to operate, and children do not have the cognitive and physical abilities to drive or ride these vehicles safely,” said Jan Stegelman, coordinator of Safe Kids Kansas. “If you’re not old enough to drive a car with safety belts on a paved road with traffic control devices, you’re certainly not old enough to drive a powerful open-seat vehicle at speeds up to 70 miles per hour over rough terrain.”
“We know it’s not the advice a lot of parents want to hear, but it’s the conclusion we’ve drawn from extensive and ongoing review of the data,” said Stegelman. “There is simply no way to make ATV riding a safe activity for children.”
Since 1998, the ATV industry has observed voluntary guidelines restricting the sale of adult-sized ATVs (with engines bigger than 90 cc) for use by children under age 16, but the number of children per year injured on ATVs continues to grow.
“Previous efforts to make ATVs safer for kids have proved inadequate,” said Stegelman. “Government efforts and the voluntary standards observed by the industry have not kept children out of the emergency room.”
For more information about ATVs and outdoor recreation safety, v isit: www.usa.safekids.org.
Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Nemaha, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. For more information visit www.safekidskansas.org.