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April is All-terrain Vehicle Safety Month in Arkansas

Kids under 16-years-old at high risk for injury.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are popular all over Arkansas with both kids and adults.

They're used mostly for farming, hunting and recreation.

Because riding or operating an ATV comes with a substantial risk of serious injury, the month of April has been declared ATV Safety Awareness Month by Governor Mike Beebe.

In 2012, Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) says it admitted 95 children with ATV-related injuries. Their ages ranged from 6 months to 21 years. Injuries occurred in counties all over Arkansas with injuries including concussions (i.e. brain injury), spinal fractures, fractures of arms, legs and pelvis and serious internal injuries. Sadly, some of these injuries resulted in death.  

According to the Children’s Safety Network, those under 16 years of age are four times more likely to sustain ATV-related injuries that require a visit to the emergency department than riders 16 and older. Factors such as children’s physical size, strength, coordination and maturity level can lead to unsafe situations.    

Several counties are participating in this year’s ATV Safety Awareness Month: Baxter, Boone/Newton (jointly), Crawford/Sebastian, Craighead, Faulkner, Drew/Cleveland and Howard Counties. Activities include: speaking engagements on safety in targeted areas; partnering with ATV dealerships to increase awareness; distribution of ATV safety material in local schools; and distribution of ATV toolkits, which are designed to educate those who wish to train others on ATV safety. This year’s focus is on riders using appropriate-sized ATVs.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no one under the age of 16 ride or operate an ATV.  However, recognizing that many parents in Arkansas choose to allow children to ride these vehicles, the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital recommends the following safety tips:
  • Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of death in a crash by almost half.
  • Children should not ride adult-sized ATVs.
  • Ride without passengers. Most ATVs are designed for single riders only.
  • ATVs are not designed to be operated on paved roadways and should only be ridden off road.
  • Get hands-on training on how to operate an ATV safely and correctly. Training is offered free of charge by the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. Contact Jack Boles, ATV instructor for Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, at jboles@uaex.edu or (501) 671-2352. Click here for more information.
For more information on ATV safety or to request a free ATV safety toolkit to be used in your community, contact the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital by phone at (866) 611-3445 or by email at injuryprevention@archildrens.org.

Families and educators may also want to check out and share a PSA about ATVs produced by ACH. Click here to watch.
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