Children's Hospital Media and Press Relations
Department of Pediatrics Newsletter Archive
Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Offers Tips to Keep ATV Riders Safe
July 22, 2014
Media Contact:
Ashley Culver
(615) 322-4747

Many children and adults will spend summer months outside enjoying warmer weather and a host of activities involving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).  As a result during warmer weather the reported number of all-terrain vehicle (ATV)-related incidents also increases.  Health care professionals at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt want to offer a reminder that safety comes first.

Four-wheeler injuries are a leading cause of trauma-related admissions to Children’s Hospital, where experts are urging adults and children who choose to ride to follow all safety precautions.

Since January of this year, Children’s Hospital has seen eight ATV-related trauma admissions. 

“The biggest concern we have is that a majority of our ATV admissions were children who were not wearing helmets,” said Purnima Unni, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program manager. Injuries to the head, face and abdomen, as well as orthopaedic injuries, are among the most common trauma seen.

Children are more prone to ATV injuries due to their lack of experience operating motorized vehicles, lack of psychomotor control and coordination, and lack of judgment that can result in risk-taking behavior and poor decision-making skills.

Children’s Hospital fully supports recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) that children 16 and under should not ride ATVs due to the high risk of serious injuries. However, if parents plan to allow children to ride an ATV despite the known risks these vehicles pose, the following safety measures are strongly recommended:

  • Always wear protective gear – especially a helmet – when riding ATVs. Head injuries are by far the leading cause of death and disability related to ATV crashes. Helmets are known to reduce head injuries by 85 percent. Wear a motorcycle or motorized sports helmet and make sure it is certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Snell Memorial Foundation. 
  • Avoid driving ATVs with a passenger or riding as a passenger. The majority of ATVs are designed to carry only one person.
  • Take a hands-on safety training course if one is available in your area. 
  •  Do not drive ATVs on paved roads. ATVs are difficult to control on paved roads. Collisions with cars and other vehicles can be deadly. 
  • Do not permit children to drive or ride adult ATVs. Children are involved in about one-third of all ATV-related deaths and hospital emergency room injuries. Most of these deaths and injuries occur when a child is driving or riding on an adult ATV.

For more information on ATV safety and the Tennessee Coalition on ATV Safety, visit

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