PHENIX CITY, Ala — The latest statistics on children and ATVs reveal 62 kids lost their lives in ATV accidents in 2013. That same year an additional 25,000 children were rushed to emergency rooms to be treated for injuries related to ATV accidents.
A Chattahoochee Valley area pediatrician says a Christmas tragedy that took the life of a seven year old is the reason she is speaking out to parents about ATV safety.
Seven-year-old Stobhan Hugley of Smiths Station died on Christmas in an ATV crash. She had on a helmet and was riding with an adult – but somehow, the machine accidentally throttled and struck a utility pole.
The story broke hearts all over, including Dr. Ritu Chandra’s. Dr. Chandra, a Phenix City pediatrician, is just as passionate about the healthcare of children as she is their personal well-being. What happened to Stobhan is motiving Dr. Chandra to speak out about this topic.
“So the American Academy of Pediatrics which is a professional body of 65,000 pediatricians has made the very strong recommendation that they do not recommend ATV use by any child under the age of 16 years,” says Dr. Chandra.
If you’re thinking that sounds like a harsh recommendation, here’s the reason behind it.
“They say this because they realize that children are developmentally not capable of handling that speed and the quick thinking physically and mentally that’s required while riding an ATV. And pediatricans are people who are professionals who care for children, who love children, who study children, and I want every parent out there to take this recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics very seriously,” says Dr. Chandra.
But if parents do decide to allow their children to ride ATVs, the following safety guidelines are important.
- Always wear a helmet.
- Always wear eye protectors.
- Wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves, and ankle-high boots when riding.
- Enroll your child in a safety certificate program.
- Read the safety instructions that come with the ATV you purchase
- Never exceed the speed limit or passenger loads suggested by the ATV manufacturer
- Adults should never operate ATVs under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any impairing substances