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Children under 16 most at risk in ATV accidents

ATVs are popular in Nebraska due to their versatility in both work and play. Letting the kids go for a ride across the acreage is an easy way to get them involved in chores and recreation. Although an ATV can be a source of fun, it can also be a source of danger for inexperienced riders. New data suggests that children under the age of 16 are particularly prone to serious injury when using an ATV.

According to the Journal of Emergency Medicine, 20 percent of ATV users are under the age of 16, but this age group accounts for nearly 50 percent of all emergency room visits related to their use. Why is this the case?

Young riders lack experience, more prone to risk-taking.

With age comes wisdom and experience. Not only are young riders more prone to getting themselves into dangerous riding situations, but they are also less likely to know how to deal with them. The human brain is not fully developed until age 25, leaving young riders without the natural tools to protect themselves. How can parents, family and friends better look out for children while they ride?

Top four safety tips for young ATV users

No one can eliminate all riding hazards, but there are four steps adults can take to better protect and supervise the use of ATVs by children.

  1. Use appropriately sized ATVs

A child's height, weight and strength are a natural indicator of the type of ATV they should use. If the child is under 18, they should not use an ATV intended for adults.

2. Wear the proper protective equipment

Use of clothing that is appropriate for the weather and riding conditions is crucial to preventing serious injury. Riders of all ages should wear long sleeves, long pants, closed toed shoes and a helmet while using an ATV.

 3. Do not let children carry passengers

Most ATVs are intended for a single rider. Children, especially, should not carry a passenger while using an ATV. Likewise, all riders in off-road utility vehicles should be over the age of 12.

4. Stay off public roadways

ATVs lack the proper vehicle markings for use public roads. Further, children who are under 16 may not know the rules of the road. Careless ATV use on public roads can quickly create a hazard to riders themselves and motor vehicle operators.

Legal help is available to families of injured children

The physical, emotional and financial toll of an ATV accident is often overwhelming for families and children. Although no one wants to think about the possibility of an accident happening, it is important to know how to prevent and respond to a crash.

Parents and families who are faced with the injury of a child in an ATV accident do have legal options available to gaining the best recovery possible after an accident. A personal injury attorney can help families deal with insurance companies, determine accident liability and explain the legal process to obtaining fair compensation for medical bills.

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