Injuries and outcomes associated with recreational vehicle accidents in pediatric trauma

J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Feb;52(2):327-333. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2016.09.003. Epub 2016 Sep 14.


Purpose: To identify injuries and outcomes from Recreational/Off-Highway Vehicles (RV/OHV) accidents at a pediatric trauma center.

Methods: A retrospective review of a prospective pediatric trauma registry was performed to identify patients sustaining injuries from an RV/OHV between January 2007 and July 2015. Vehicles included: all-terrain vehicles (ATV), dirt bikes, utility-terrain vehicles (UTV), golf carts, go-karts, and dune buggies.

Results: Five hundred twenty-eight patients were injured while on an RV/OHV: 269 ATV, 135 dirt bike, 42 UTV, 38 golf cart, 34 go-kart, and 10 dune buggy. The majority (n=381, 72%) had at least one injury with an Abbreviated Injury Scale ≥2; 39% (n=204) had orthopedic injuries and 22% (n=116) had central neurologic injuries. Over three-fourths (n=412, 78%) were admitted. For the 48% (n=253) of patients requiring surgery, 654 surgical procedures were performed. Median hospital charge was $27,565 (IQR: $15,553-$44,935). Excluding golf carts, helmet use was 49% (n=231); 16% (n=76) wore protective clothing. Only 22% (n=26) wore a restraining belt.

Conclusion: Severe injuries occur in children who ride RV/OHV often warranting admission and surgical intervention. Improved understanding of RV/OHV injuries may guide caregivers in decision-making about pediatric RV/OHV use and encourage use of protective gear.

Level of evidence: Level II, Prognosis Study.

Keywords: Helmet; Pediatric trauma; Recreational vehicle; Utility-terrain vehicle.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents*
  • Adolescent
  • Arizona / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Head Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Off-Road Motor Vehicles*
  • Protective Clothing / statistics & numerical data
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma Centers
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy