The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Kids and Off-road Vehicles

Monday, July 25, 2011

Kids and Off-road Vehicles

I took this as a sign that this should be my next blog topic... I received a blogpost from KidProof on Friday about how kids can stay safe on off-road vehicles.  Then on Saturday, I found that the son of a friend's friend had been killed while riding his quad.  A careless young driver on drugs had hit him with his pickup truck.  He did not survive the ride to the hospital.  Such a sad, life-changing event for that family.  Therefore, I'll summarize here what the KidProof blog recommends:
  • Off-road vehicles are designed to be just that - vehicles for fields and farms, not the side of the road.  More fatal accidents happen when kids ride these vehicles too close to regular traffic.
  • Not all off-road vehicles are created equal.  Some go up to 75 miles per hour and are designed for adult riders.  Others will only go to 30 miles per hour and are designed for younger drivers.
  • Make sure your kids wear helmets while riding.  Young drivers don't have the strength to right a vehicle when it tips.  A helmet won't save a crushed leg, but it will prevent brain damage.
  • Keep the keys locked away so children can't decide to take a joy ride on their own.  Here is an article that proves that point: http://www.legalinfo360.com/2010/03/child-killed-in-atv-accident-ruled-accident/ 
  • According to KidProof, "You can protect your kids and teens by keeping them off ATVs and mini-bikes until they’re at least 16 and have a driver’s license."
And here are some alarming statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission: There were more than 540 ATV-related deaths and more than 150,000 ATV-related emergency room visits in America in 2007 alone. One out of five deaths and more than a quarter of the injured were kids under 16. Nearly one in 10 of the deaths was a child younger than 12. 

That's enough information for me to say I'd never, ever want my child to ride an off-road vehicle, even for only a few minutes.  The risk is just too great.

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