Safe Trails, Serious Fun: ATV Safety

Feel the thunder as your machine roars to life. Picture the panoramic scenery as you kick up the giant dust cloud behind your ride. But first … learn, gear up, and then head down some safe trails for some serious fun.

Since 1998, Utah has seen a 166% increase in the number of registered all-terrain vehicles/ off-highway vehicles in Utah. That means more and more families and children are using these fun but risky machines.

Primary Children’s Hospital is the hub of a new, exciting ATV safety awareness campaign – “Safe Trails: Serious Fun” in an effort to prevent death and injury to children and adolescents. Twenty-two ATV deaths of Utah youth ages 13-19 occurred between 1999 and 2011. Even more alarming is the fact that Utah has the fourth highest traumatic brain injury (TBI) hospitalization rate in the US for children ages 5-14. At least 12% TBI admissions and at least 10% of the total trauma admissions at the hospital are due to off-road vehicle incidents. Unbelievably, these numbers translate to the fact that riding an ATV is 1,000 times more dangerous than riding in a car!

What’s with all the numbers you ask? We certainly enjoy the fun that comes with ATV riding, but let’s prepare to make it SAFE! Like other risk areas, there are dozens of safety precautions and preparations that can change the outcomes listed above. Wearing a helmet, riding the proper size of machine for age, size, and ability; for those under 16, taking a certification course, and always riding on approved trails seems so simple. Yet only 58% of riders report wearing a helmet and only 38% of Utah children whose parents own an ATV have taken the required training course.

Look around at your family and circle of friends. I am sure there is not one of them that you wouldn’t miss terribly if something tragic happened. Do your part to protect yourself and those riding ATVs in your family. Make all of the necessary preparations so that there will be many more memorable rides in your future! After all, this is some serious fun. For more information,

Child Advocacy Manager by Janet Brooks
Article provided and posted by Primary Children’s Hospital on June 17, 2014 in Children’s Safety

Janet has worked as the Child Advocacy Manager at Primary Children’s for 17 years. She manages the Hold On To Dear Life® educational and advocacy campaign. Janet is a Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor and an instructor in transporting children with special health care needs. She enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband, five children, three in-laws, and six beautiful grandchildren.


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Tooele County Health Department

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