You can put the legislative hammer down on children who drive all-terrain vehicles, but a certain subset will ignore off-road rules and generate a nice hospital bill for mom and dad to pay.
That’s the gist of a small study conducted in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada, after lawmakers there enacted legislation in 2004-2005 restricting use of all-terrain vehicles by children under the age of 16.
During a poster session at the annual meeting of the American Pediatric Surgical Association in Palm Desert, Calif., Dr. Natalie L. Yanchar presented findings from a study that compared pediatric ATV-related injury rates and severity in the province 5 years before and 3 years after the legislation was enacted.
Although the number of deaths (about one per year) did not change, rates of ATV-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations to the area’s regional pediatric trauma center decreased by 36% and 75%, respectively, and all provincial hospitalizations for ATV-related trauma decreased by 38%. On the other hand, the proportion of children aged 14 and older admitted to the pediatric regional trauma center for ATV-related trauma rose to 61% from 41%, and the proportion with an Injury Severity Score of 12 or more increased from 18% to 33%.
The good news: helmet use increased from 76% to 86%, and was associated with a significantly reduced risk of head injury (odds ratio 0.11).
— Doug Brunk (on Twitter@dougbrunk)