A new study by University of Iowa researchers used national data to examine the major contributors to all-terrain vehicle (ATV)-related deaths among different age groups of children. The research team, which included Dr. Karisa Harland from the Injury Prevention Research Center based in the College of Public Health, looked at ATV-related deaths from 1985 to 2009 using data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The investigators found that adult-sized ATVs were involved in 95 percent of fatalities among victims younger than the recommended age for these machines (under 16 years of age). Over the study period, 12- to 15-year-old children accounted for more than half of all pediatric ATV-related fatalities.
The proportion of youth riding on the road increased with age, as did the proportion of collisions with other vehicles. Older teens had the highest proportions of roadway fatalities (72 percent) and collision events (63 percent), and 19 percent of their crashes involved alcohol.
Head injuries occurred in 63 percent of victims (the major determinant being roadway riding), and helmets reduced the likelihood of head injury among fatal crash victims by 58 percent. For all age groups, the highest proportion of head injuries was among passenger victims.
Because the study revealed both similarities and differences between pediatric age groups in the contribution of known risk factors to ATV-related deaths, the researchers recommend targeting injury prevention approaches to specific age ranges.
The article appeared online November 24 in the journal Pediatrics. More can be found in a CBS News story about the study.