To estimate the numbers and rates of all-terrain vehicle (ATV)–related nonfatal injuries among riders aged ≤15 years treated in hospital emergency departments (EDs) in the United States during 2001–2010.
National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–All Injury Program data for 2001–2010 were analyzed. Numbers and rates of injuries were examined by age group, gender, primary body part injured, diagnosis, and hospital admission status.
During 2001–2010, an estimated 361 161 ATV riders aged ≤15 years were treated in EDs for ATV-related injuries. The injury rate peaked at 67 per 100 000 children in 2004 and then declined to 42 per 100 000 children by 2010. The annualized injury rate for boys was double that of girls (73 vs 37 per 100 000). Children aged 11 to 15 years accounted for two-thirds of all ED visits and hospitalizations. Fractures accounted for 28% of ED visits and 45% of hospitalizations.
The reasons for the decline in ATV-related injuries among young riders are not well understood but might be related to the economic recession of the mid-2000s and decreased sales of new ATVs. Although many states have regulations governing children’s use of ATVs, their effectiveness in reducing injuries is unclear. Broader use of known effective safety measures, including prohibiting children aged ≤15 years from riding adult-sized ATVs, always wearing a helmet while riding, not riding on paved roads, and not riding as or carrying a passenger could additionally reduce ATV-related injuries among children. Last, more research to better understand ATV crash dynamics might lead to safer designs for ATVs.