Spine Injuries From ATV Accidents On The Rise For Children

A new study has found a meteoric rise in cases of spine injuries among children from ATV accidents, which has accompanied the increased popularity of the open-air off-road vehicles. 

The study was conducted by U.S. researchers and presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in New Orleans. In addition to the rapidly increasing number of child ATV injuries, researchers found that youths hurt while riding an ATV stay in the hospital longer than average and their bills cost more.

Researchers looked at data collected on children who received ATV-related injuries from 1997 to 2006. They found that the number of overall ATV-related child injuries jumped 240% during that period, and the number of spinal injuries from ATV accidents increased 467%. That translated to about 4,483 children hurt on ATVs in 2006, with 332 of them suffering spine damage.

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In addition, researchers found that only about 30% wore a helmet. They also found that older teen girls tended to suffer the most severe injuries, possibly due to their lighter skeletal structure and their spines were less flexible due to their age.

The findings indicate that 70% of the children who received a spinal injury were under the age of 16, with a median age of about 13. Pediatricians and orthopedic surgeons recommend that children driving ATVs be no younger than 16, and many ATVs carry warnings that they should not have occupants under the age of 16.


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