Pediatric hospitalizations for ATV injuries increase: study

The rate of children requiring hospitalization to treat injuries associated with all-terrain vehicles increased 150 percent between 1997 and 2006, finds a new study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Although boys are most frequently hospitalized as a result of ATV injuries, the rate of girls requiring hospitalization saw the sharpest increase over the course of the study, rising 250 percent. The most dramatic increases in injury were among children 15-17 years old, and were concentrated in the South and Midwest.

"All-terrain vehicles are inherently dangerous to children," said lead author Stephen M. Bowman in a press release. "While manufacturers are required to label vehicles with engine sizes greater than 90cc as inappropriate for children younger than 16, our data indicate that a growing number of children are receiving serious injuries due to ATV use, suggesting that parents are unaware of these recommendations or are choosing to ignore them."

Approximately 30 percent of the children included in the study suffered traumatic brain injury, leading researchers to call for additional education and policies encouraging helmet use.

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