All-Terrain Vehicle Injury in Children and Youth: Examining Current Knowledge and Future Needs

J Emerg Med. 2017 Aug;53(2):222-231. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2016.12.035. Epub 2017 Mar 1.


Background: All-terrain vehicle (ATV)-related injuries remain a large public health problem in the United States and disproportionately affect American youth. Although children account for only 14-18% of ATV riders, they comprise 37-57% of those injured in ATV-related accidents. Since the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission began collecting data in 1982, 23% of ATV-related deaths have occurred in children.

Objective: With this review, we outline the major risk factors for injuries among young ATV riders in the United States and suggest research-based interventions to successfully modify such risk factors.

Discussion: We reviewed data from 16 published reviews regarding epidemiology and risk factors among ATV-related injuries in American children. All data pointed to young driver age and lack of appropriate safety equipment as major risk factors for such injuries. Although these risk factors are modifiable, legislation and programs designed to mitigate such risks have been unsuccessful. Among adults, the brief intervention model has become widely used among trauma patients exhibiting risky behaviors. Additionally, peer-to-peer interventions have demonstrated success with respect to drug and alcohol use in school-aged children. Both the brief and peer-to-peer interventions are promising avenues for decreasing risky ATV-related behavior in youths but have not been studied in this field.

Conclusions: ATV-related injuries disproportionately affect American youths. Although risk factors for such injuries are modifiable, current methods for intervention (mainly legislation) have not been successfully implemented. The brief intervention and peer-to-peer interventions have shown promise in other fields and should be studied with respect to pediatric ATV use.

Keywords: all-terrain vehicle injury; brief intervention; injuries in youth; injury prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents, Traffic / trends*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Risk Behaviors
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Off-Road Motor Vehicles / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control