Fewer Children Are Getting Hurt On ATVs And Seriously Why The Hell Are Parents Letting Their Kids On ATVs?

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Family on an ATVYou better get your muddin’ clothes on (cut off jean shorts and a Git-R-Dun t-shirt) because a new study shows that ATV injuries in kids are down! Wait…is that actually a THING?

Why anyone would let a little kid ride on one of these death-machines is beyond me, but this research sure is promising. Researchers are quick to point out that they aren’t sure what has caused the decline: better safety practices or fewer kids using ATVS due to economic reasons. First of all, I doubt it’s the former, because ‘Muricuh. Secondly, I love how no one even thinks to bring up the idea that people might have finally realized how dangerous it is to have a little kid on an ATV (with no training on how to drive a vehicle whatsoever) and therefore stopped using them, because that would be IMPOSSIBLE!

The study, performed by Ruth Shults from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury and Control, looked at data from a U.S. injury surveillance system set up to track emergency room visits at 66 hospitals that are considered “nationally representative.”

The study claims that the number of injuries went from 50 in 100,000 children in 2001 to 42 in 100,000 by 2010. There was an inexplicable rise in injuries to 67 in 2004, But that WAS the year that NASCAR: The IMAX Experience came out, just sayin’…

All in all, these hospitals saw almost 5,500 kids ages 15 and under who had sustained ATV-related injuries. Wait…what? Over 5,000 kids? At just 66 hospitals? According to the data that is the equivalent of 361,000 injuries nationwide. That’s a hell of a lot of Larry the Cable Guy fans putting their kids at risk.

One doctor claims that she hasn’t seen the dramatic decrease that the study claims, however. Dr. Allison McBride says that while the struggling economy might explain some of the data, she hasn’t personally seen any difference, and that she sees “a lot of ATV injuries in very young children.” Though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids under the age of 16 refrain from driving ATVs (you know, like sane people), McBride point out:

“I think one of the big problems… is that the adult-sized ATV is often what kids are driving and it’s not made for their size to maneuver and it’s so heavy that if it lands on them it can be life-threatening.”

Now here is what the Consumer Product Safety Commission says (let’s see if you can guess how many of these things a beer guzzling, confederate flag wearing Jeff Foxworthy acolyte is likely to do before letting heading out to get their drank and mud on):

  • Kids should ALWAYS wear a helmet
  • Other safety gear should be used too
  • Never drive on paved roads, where ATVs are more likely to turn over
  • Kids should NEVER ride adult sized vehicles
  • All ATV users should take a safety training course.

If you answered none of these things then CONGRATULATIONS. You win one internet. Hell, that family in the photo above is breaking at least three of these rules.

Now, some states require a license or enforce an age minimum in order to operate an ATV, but who actually abides by this? Less kids getting hurt is good, obviously, but almost no kids would be better. I’m not sure what needs to be done to stop this phenomenon. Make it illegal for kids under the age of 18 to drive them? Make every state require a license for ATVs? Outlawing the Blue Collar Comedy Tour…who knows?

I’m just going to pretend this doesn’t actually happen and go watch this video Eve Vawter brought to my attention a while back until it goes away.

(Photo:  arne.list)