| Jul 10, 2008

Feature Article - July 10, 2008

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Feature Article - July 10, 2008 ATVs: not child’s playEvery parent wants their child to be safe from harm, but one risk many are unaware of involves ATVs and children. Many children are injured and killed while riding as a passenger or operating an ATV. Children represent one-third of ATV-related injuries and 50% of ATV-related deaths, as reported by the Canadian Pediatric Society in 2004.

Each year in Ontario, 1,500 kids under 16 visit emergency departments because of an ATV injury. The major risks for youth riding ATVs include being thrown from the vehicle or having the vehicle roll over, often crushing them. A new campaign by KFL&A Public Health, "I Didn't Know", is designed to change that by educating parents about those risks.

Children and young adolescents lack the knowledge, physical size and strength, and cognitive and motor skills to operate an ATV safely.

Campaign materials include facts on how easily ATVs roll over, that most are not intended to take passengers, and that themachines weigh up to 800 lbs. "We know ATVs are a way of life for farmers and other land owners. But they do pose a danger to our children", said Cathy Edwards, Public Health Nurse with KFL&A Public Health. "Hopefully this awareness campaign will help parents to make informed decisions. ATV riding is not child's play."l The following is an excerpt from a true story. Ten-year-old Kyle rode the family ATV across the neighbour's field to have an after-school snack with his friend. On his way home the ATV he was riding hit a rut and tipped, suffocating him to death. Even though Kyle was a skilled rider and in full gear, he didn't have a chance. The 250 cc adult-sized ATV weighed 500 lb. and Kyle barely 80 lb."I got to the scene about 15 minutes after the incident happened and began to administer CPR," said Kyle's mom. "Holding my little boy in my arms, I felt the warmth drain out of his body. In a few horrible moments of breathing for him and tasting the cookies and milk on hibreath, I came to the awful realization that I had been wrong to let him ride a full-sized ATV. The memories of my son and the last time I held him will never go away."For more information and personal stories visit www.atvsafetynet.org

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