CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As the 2-year-old who was injured in Rockport following an ATV accident remains under intensive care, a local health expert is advising parents who are considering a motorized vehicle for their child to exercise caution when buying this Christmas season.
Karen Beard, Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Injury Prevention Training Coordinator said they tend to see a rise in ATV-related accidents in their emergency rooms. She cites the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that no one under the age of 16 should be on an adult-sized ATV.
“If the family is geared in an ATV-family … there are ATVs for different ages,” Beard said. “Some ATVs start as young as six years old, but they go at a slower speed and they’re geared for the young rider. So, if you’re going to get an ATV for your child, it should not be anyone under the age of six and should be an ATV designed for a six-year-old.”
Whether it’s adults or children that meet the requirements of an ATV, Beard reminds others that helmets are an invaluable tool.
“When they hit something, they either hit a log, a rock, a dip in the road — and most injuries are — the person projects out over the ATV, so you’re going to have a head injury in most cases,” Beard said. “It’s easier to recover from a broken arm, broken leg, broken rib, etc., But a head injury is a lot more to recover from.”
And while she agrees that ATVs are fun, she said she’s seen the reality of what poor safety practices can lead to.
“No one gets on an ATV and plans on being ejected from it and flying through the air. No one does that. You get on because they are a lot of fun — but they stop being fun when you spend the rest of the time in the hospital,” she said. “I hate to be the party-pooper and say it shouldn’t happen, but you just should not put a child on an adult ATV at all. Ever. And 16 and above is what that’s geared for.”
Even in situations where children are familiar with the ATV’s controls, Beard said it’s important for parents to err on the side of caution.
“Everybody thinks their child is the smartest, the brightest, the most coordinated,” she said. “(But) they are still a child — and they still need a parent to be a parent and buy the age-appropriate item.”
Beard said for parents who have questions or concerns about the safety of other toys this holiday season can call Driscoll Children’s Hospital at (361) 694-5000.