In January 1988, sales of new three-wheel all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) were banned in the United States because of the high incidence of injury associated with their use, especially by children. Four-wheel ATVs remain on the market. A retrospective review of all ATV injuries seen in a level I pediatric trauma center was conducted to compare the nature and severity of injuries in three-wheel vehicles with those associated with four-wheelers. A total of 36 ATV injuries were seen from April 1986 to August 1988. All patients were < 16 years of age; 72% were ≤12 years of age. Of the patients, 56% were boys; 44% were girls. Although 56% of incidents involved three-wheelers, a larger number of more serious injuries, defined as the presence of indicators of injury severity (eg, death, Injury Severity Score ≥10, intensive care unit admission, or need for surgery), involved four-wheel vehicles. A total of 15 injuries occurred in 1987; 12 injuries, including the first death involving an ATV at the pediatric trauma center, occurred in the 7 months since the sales ban. Immature judgment and/or motor skills were the most common factors contributing to injury. Existing information regarding injuries involving three-wheel ATVs is supported by our data, according to which it is suggested that four-wheel vehicles may be dangerous in the hands of immature or unskilled operators < 16 years of age. Injury prevention efforts should be directed at prohibiting any ATV use by persons < 16 years of age.
- Received September 1, 1988.
- Accepted November 30, 1988.
- Copyright © 1989 by the American Academy of Pediatrics