Background. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) have gained in popularity in recent years, and this rise in use has been accompanied by increases in the number of ATV-related injuries. Because children often lack the physical strength, cognitive abilities, and fine motor skills to operate ATVs properly, their risk for injury is greater. Furthermore, most children ride adult-sized ATVs.

Objectives. To estimate the numbers and rates of ATV-related nonfatal injuries to riders aged ≤15 years who were treated in hospital emergency departments (EDs) in the United States from 2001 through 2003.

Methods. Estimates of ATV-related injuries were obtained from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program. The database is a nationally representative, stratified probability sample of 66 US hospitals with ≥6 beds and a 24-hour ED. ATV-related nonfatal injuries to riders aged ≤15 years who were treated in hospital EDs were examined by age group, gender, primary body part injured, diagnosis, and hospital admission status.

Results. From 2001 through 2003, an estimated 108724 children aged ≤15 years were treated in hospital EDs for nonfatal injuries sustained while riding ATVs. The number of ATV-related injuries increased by 25% over the 3-year period. Males aged 11 to 15 years accounted for 52% of all ATV-related ED visits and hospitalizations among young riders. Children aged 0 to 5 years were more likely than the older children to have facial injuries, whereas the older children were more likely to sustain lower trunk and leg or foot injuries. Fractures were the most common diagnosis, accounting for 27% of ED visits and 45% of hospitalizations.

Conclusions. Current legal and regulatory standards have been ineffective in reducing injuries among young ATV riders. Renewed efforts by health care providers to counsel parents about the injury risk to children who ride ATVs and advocate for more stringent state-level minimum age requirements may help reduce the escalating rates of ATV-related injuries among young riders.

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