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All-terrain vehicle injury in children: strategies for prevention
  1. M E Aitken1,
  2. C J Graham1,
  3. J B Killingsworth1,
  4. S H Mullins1,
  5. D N Parnell2,
  6. R M Dick1
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine, and Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
  2. 2Department of Pediatric Surgery, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M E Aitken
 Department of Pediatrics, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, 800 Marshall Street, Slot 512–26, Little Rock, AR 72202–3591;


Objective: A variety of educational efforts, policies, and regulations have been adopted to reduce all-terrain vehicle (ATV) injury in children. Despite this, ATV use by children continues and serious injuries are common. The purpose of this study was to investigate the knowledge, practices, and beliefs of ATV users to help develop effective educational strategies to promote safer ATV use.

Design: Focus groups were conducted to characterize participant ATV use and safety awareness as well as to explore avenues for prevention. Feedback on draft ATV safety public service announcements was elicited. Themes of transcribed focus group data were summarized.

Setting: Rural state with high ATV use and injury rates.

Subjects: Adult and adolescent ATV users.

Interventions: None.

Main outcome measures: Summaries of focus group discussions.

Results: ATV riders frankly discussed current use and safety behaviors and were aware of some ATV risks. Youths felt that age specific regulation was unlikely to be a helpful strategy. Participants endorsed messages demonstrating graphic consequences as likely to get the attention of young riders regarding risks. Educational settings were suggested, including hunter and driver safety classes.

Conclusions: Efforts to improve ATV safety awareness should clearly show pediatric ATV injury risk and safety practices. Campaigns must also show realistic understanding of current use practices to be credible for users. Messages emphasizing the consequences of ATV use were endorsed as most likely to have impact. Approaches based on age based restrictions were considered unrealistic and alternative strategies were suggested.

  • AAP, American Academy of Pediatrics
  • ATV, all-terrain vehicle
  • CPSC, Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • PSA, public service announcement
  • pediatrics
  • all-terrain vehicle

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  • Supported by grants from the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, (MCH #1H33 MC 00088 01) and by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Injury Free Coalition for Kids # 047012).