As summer kicks off this Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns parents about the dangers of children riding adult all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
Tragically, during the four days of the 2015 Memorial Day holiday weekend, there were at least 13 deaths and an estimated 2,900 emergency room treated injuries associated with ATV usage, according to reports gathered by CPSC. Reports for the six Memorial Day holiday weekends from 2009 to 2014 show a total of more than 114 ATV-related fatalities.
“Almost every day I read ATV death reports – many of them involving children,” said CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye. “As a parent, I understand the desire to have fun with your kids, but kids don’t have the physical or cognitive skills needed to stay safe on these vehicles. Keep your children off of our tragedy list—keep kids off adult ATVs.”
CPSC urges the riding community to follow these four safety tips to keep children safe:
- Never let children ride ATVs that are meant for adults.
- Make sure children younger than 16 operate only youth model ATVs appropriate for their age.
- Never let children younger than 6 on an ATV.
- Make sure children wear a helmet and other protective gear that fits appropriately.
CPSC wants all ATV riders to know that hands-on training and following these known safety practices can help keep adults and children safe while using their vehicles:
- Do not drive ATVs on paved roads.
- Do not drive ATVs with a passenger or ride as a passenger.
- Always wear a helmet and other protective gear such as eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
ROV drivers and riders also need to be vigilant this riding season. Overall deaths associated with these powerful machines with car-like seats and steering wheels have reached more than 400 during the past 10 years.
In addition to the tips for ATV riders, ROV drivers and passengers should take these steps:
- Never have more passengers than there are seat belts and never carry passengers in cargo beds.
- Always fasten seat belts and keep all parts of your body inside the vehicle.
- Never transport passengers who cannot place both feet on the floorboard with their backs against the seat.
And, whether you’re operating an ATV or an ROV, drive at a safe speed and use care when turning and crossing slopes.
Ride smart and ride safe to avoid tragedies this weekend and all season long.
Further information on ATV safety is available at the ATV Safety Information Center or the ROV Safety Information Center. Both are at www.CPSC.gov.