ATVs are fun and useful, but they also can be dangerous.
At least 555 people — including more than 100 children — died in all-terrain vehicle accidents in 2006. Government safety officials expect the number to go much higher as they receive information from coroners and hospitals nationwide.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that an additional 146,600 people were treated in emergency rooms for ATV-related injuries — more than a quarter of them children.
With approximately 6.2 million ATVs in use in the United States being operated by over 15 million Americans, it is important that all riders understand the importance of safe and responsible use of ATVs. Almost 90 percent of youth ATV-related injury incidents occur when a youth is operating an adult-sized ATV, meaning that the engine size is greater than 90 cubic centimeters. Every child under the age of 16 should be supervised and should never be permitted to ride an adult-sized ATV.
Parental supervision is a key element to a child's safety, and children under the age of 16 must be supervised at all times when operating an ATV. Parents literally hold the key to their children's safety. Every ATV has an ignition key, and when a parent or guardian controls the key, they control the use.
Through the efforts of the 4-H ATV Safety Program, it is our hope youth-related accidents will be reduced. More information on 4-H ATV Safety can be found at the National 4-H ATV safety Web site: www.atv-youth.org.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture