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All-terrain vehicles, or "ATVs," are popular in Minnesota. And you probably already know they can be very dangerous for riders of any age. But according to a recent study published earlier this year in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, ATVs could be even more dangerous for children and teenaged riders than previously realized.

The study, compiled by a professor of pediatric surgical sciences and his colleagues, looked closely at data collected in 16 previously published studies about ATV accidents and the risk factors involved when the injured rider was a child or teenager. The study concluded that the injuries sustained by children in ATV accidents are frequently more severe than the injuries sustained by children involved in automobile crashes.

The researchers also found that, while children make up only 14 to 18 percent of ATV riders, 37 to 57 percent of all injuries sustained in ATV accidents involve children. An even more sobering statistic, seen in data collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, shows that, since 1982, 23 percent of all ATV accident-related deaths are children.

The new study also highlights the biggest risk factors involved in these accidents, which include:

  • The availability of increasingly powerful machines
  • Young riders who have little to no driving experience
  • A lack of proper safety equipment
  • The riskier driving behavior exhibited by younger riders.

In addition, the study found that ATV injuries to children are most frequently caused by rollover of the vehicle, collision with stationary objects and being thrown from the vehicle.

And while there has been some recent effort to provide programs and legislation geared towards reducing the risk of ATV injuries and death among younger riders, the researchers, unfortunately, conclude that such efforts have been largely unsuccessful.

If you or someone you know has children who have been involved in a serious ATV accident, make sure you contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney for legal advice regarding your options.

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