Three-wheel and four-wheel all-terrain vehicle injuries in children.

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In January 1988, sales of new three-wheel all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) were banned in the United States because of the high incidence of injury associated with their use, especially by children. Four-wheel ATVs remain on the market. A retrospective review of all ATV injuries seen in a level I pediatric trauma center was conducted to compare the nature and severity of injuries in three-wheel vehicles with those associated with four-wheelers. A total of 36 ATV injuries were seen from April 1986 to August 1988. All patients were less than 16 years of age; 72% were less than or equal to 12 years of age. Of the patients, 56% were boys; 44% were girls. Although 56% of incidents involved three-wheelers, a larger number of more serious injuries, defined as the presence of indicators of injury severity (eg, death, Injury Severity Score greater than or equal to 10, intensive care unit admission, or need for surgery), involved four-wheel vehicles. A total of 15 injuries occurred in 1987; 12 injuries, including the first death involving an ATV at the pediatric trauma center, occurred in the 7 months since the sales ban. Immature judgment and/or motor skills were the most common factors contributing to injury. Existing information regarding injuries involving three-wheel ATVs is supported by our data, according to which it is suggested that four-wheel vehicles may be dangerous in the hands of immature or unskilled operators less than 16 years of age. Injury prevention efforts should be directed at prohibiting any ATV use by persons less than 16 years of age.

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MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Child; Child, Preschool; Female; Humans; Male; Motorcycles; Retrospective Studies; Wounds and Injuries


ATVs; All Terrain Vehicles; Accident

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