ATVs (all terrain vehicles) are important to many lifestyles, both for recreation and work. However, pediatricians and leading medical groups say young children do not have the strength, coordination or judgment needed to safely handle powerful ATVs.
Nationwide, ATVs seriously injure and kill over 40,000 children under age 16 every year. An excerpt from the “Concerned Families for ATV Safety” website, highlights a growing problem and the very real costs to families and society at large, and emphasizes the need for common sense safety standards to keep children under age 16 from driving these powerful vehicles.
America’s Doctors Believe ATVs Too Dangerous for Children Under 16
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOP) have adopted formal policies recommending that children under age 16 not drive ATVs.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics states: “Laws should prohibit the use of ATVs, on- or off-road, by children and adolescents younger than 16 years. An automobile driver’s license, and preferably some additional certification in ATV use, should be required to operate an ATV. The safe use of ATVs requires the same or greater skill, judgment, and experience as needed to operate an automobile.”(AAP, Policy Statement, All-Terrain Vehicle Injury Prevention: Two-, Three-and Four-Wheeled Unlicensed Motor Vehicles, 2000)
- The American Academy of Pediatrics also describes child ATV use as “the perfect recipe for tragedy.” (AAP press release, July 13, 2005)
- The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons explains: “In light of statistics that show an inordinate number of injuries and deaths resulting from the use of ATVs, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons considers ATVs to be a significant public health risk. . . The minimum age of 16 for operating an ATV on or off the road should be enforced.
- Children under the age of 12 generally possess neither the body size and strength, nor the motor skills and coordination necessary for the safe handling of an ATV.
- Children under age 16 generally have not yet developed the perceptual abilities or the judgment required for the safe use of highly powered vehicles.
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