Background Children aged <16 years account for 25% of deaths on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), despite public health and industry warning against paediatric use. Parents often underestimate instability and other risks associated with ATVs.
Objective To determine if a brief intervention consisting of validated computer simulations of ATV performance with a child driver changes attitudes, beliefs and planned safety behaviours of parents of children who ride ATVs.
Design/methods Participants were parents of children presenting to a children's hospital emergency department. All participants had children who had ridden an ATV in the past year. Subjects viewed a video simulation of ATVs in scenarios featuring 6-year-old and 10-year-old biofidelic anthropomorphic test devices. Parents completed a survey both before and after viewing the video to report attitudes/beliefs on ATV safety for children, use of safety equipment and family ATV use, as well as risk and safety perception.
Results Surveys were collected from 99 parents, mostly mothers (79%), Caucasian (61%) and had high school education or less (64%). The intervention shifted parents’ belief in overall ATV safety (48% unsafe pre-intervention, 73% unsafe post-intervention, p<0.001). After viewing the video simulation, parents were almost six times more likely to perceive ATVs as unsafe (OR 5.96, 95% CI 2.32 to 15.31, p<0.001) and many parents (71%) planned to change family ATV safety rules.
Conclusion Video simulations of ATV performance with child riders changed short-term risk perception and planned safety behaviours of parents whose children ride ATVs. Similar educational interventions hold promise for larger-scale studies in at-risk populations.
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