Dirt bikes and all terrain vehicles: the real threat to pediatric kidneys

J Urol. 2007 Oct;178(4 Pt 2):1672-4. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2007.03.160. Epub 2007 Aug 17.


Purpose: Recent reviews show that bicycles are the major cause of significant renal injury with few injuries occurring during contact sports. All-terrain vehicles are also responsible for significant pediatric renal trauma. We determined whether dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles cause more significant renal injuries than contact sports.

Materials and methods: A retrospective review of our pediatric trauma database revealed 115 consecutive patients treated for renal trauma from 2000 to 2005. A total of 20 bicycle injuries occurred, including 6 on dirt bikes. A total of 13 all-terrain vehicle injuries occurred, including 4 involving rollovers. A total of 12 contact sport injuries occurred, including 2 during pick-up games. The mean grade of renal injury was compared among the mechanisms, with grades III-V considered high grade.

Results: In descending order of renal injury the mechanisms were dirt bike (2.8), all-terrain vehicle rollover (2.8), bicycle (2.3), all-terrain vehicle (2.1), contact sports (1.8) and organized contact sports (1.4). Dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicle rollovers caused significantly greater renal trauma than organized contact sports (2.8 vs 1.4, p = 0.007 and 0.02, respectively), whereas overall bicycle and all-terrain vehicle accidents resulted in similar renal trauma grades compared to those of all contact sports. The 2 high grade renal injuries during contact sports occurred during pick-up football games without protective gear.

Conclusions: Physician advice regarding children with a solitary kidney should include avoiding dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles. Efforts to limit all-terrain vehicle use in children younger than 16 years would decrease the risk of significant renal injury in this population more effectively than limiting contact sports participation.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Bicycling / injuries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / injuries*
  • Male
  • Off-Road Motor Vehicles*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology