Posted on Apr 23, 2010
Last Tuesday, two young boys were riding on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV, also known as a "four-wheeler") when they were involved in a serious, and fatal crash.  Officials explained that the driver, a thirteen-year-old boy from Michigan, was attempting to cross a main road with his passenger another boy of eight-years of age.  Unfortunately, a Ford Mustang was not able to slow down or move out of the way and collided with the two boys. 

The younger of the two boys was not wearing a protective helmet, and perhaps that explains the critical injuries he suffered.  The eight-year-old experienced numerous injuries.  It is believed that he had experienced a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, but his condition was so critical that he required life support.  The parents of this boy made the decision to remove him from life support on Wednesday.

The thirteen-year-old was wearing a safety helmet, and did experience some injuries that have not been publicly reported.  Yet, he was fortunate enough to be released.

ATVs are appealing forms of transportation to both children and adults seeing as how they are smaller, more accessible versions of cars.  For children below the legal driving age, ATVs offer exciting opportunities.  But the truth is, these small, open-air vehicles are not safe for children to drive.  Under accidental circumstances, the lack of internal or external protection puts any person at a higher risk of physical injury.  Especially, in young children, because the larger the person, the easier it is for them to maneuver themselves off of the vehicle, and land safely.  Since children are smaller, it is more difficult for them to safely escape an ATV accident.

Additionally, parents often overlook the fact that younger children are more inclined to take risks with their safety.  The legal driving age is established reasonably in order to protect younger drivers whose brains and mental processes are less developed and capable of making mature, safe decisions.  

Obviously, a safety helmet made all the difference in this situation.  The driver who was wearing the safety belt was protected, and the young passenger who was not wearing a safety helmet was not.  As warm weather and summer activites approach, we urge you to make sure your child is protected by wearing a safety helmet at all times when riding on ATVs or when partaking in other activities where a safety helmet is crucial.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.