Be Safe With ATV's

All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s) are common on farms and in cities. We see even more in the warm summer months. Then also, we see more injuries and deaths from riding these.

ATVs might seem like a good choice for childhood fun. But young minds and bodies are not ready for what’s needed to be safe when riding one of these. ATVs are heavy, complex machines that require higher level thinking skills to use safely. For example, riders need to be able to assess risk, control impulses, and handle problems.

Children and teens do not have brains that are fully developed. They aren’t capable of making good decisions regarding risk and what can happen like adults can. Because of these factors, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than 16 years do not use ATVs at all.

Take extra caution when using ATV’s and stick with safety rules for use. Be extra cautious with visitors who want to use your ATV. To keep the summer fun and safe while using the ATV, practice safety first.

Anyone who does ride an ATV should follow these tips before and during riding:

  • Take a safety training course to learn how to operate an ATV safely, and only ride an ATV that's right for your size and age. Visit the ATV Safety Institute's website for information www.atvsafety.org . Local Extension Offices, 4H programs, and safety organizations offer courses also.
  • Always wear an approved helmet and eye protection. In many states, helmets and eye protection are required by law, particularly for kids.
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves, and over-the-ankle boots to help prevent scrapes and cuts.
  • Only ride during daylight hours.
  • Always ride at a safe speed on a designated ATV trail.
  • Know basic first aid to treat minor injuries and how to get help in an emergency.

It's important to never do the following while riding an ATV:

  • Never ride on a three-wheel ATV.
  • Never ride while drinking alcohol or using drugs.
  • Never ride on paved surfaces or public roads (except to cross them).
  • Never exceed the number of passengers recommended by the manufacturer. Never let kids and teens drive an ATV with a passenger.

Source for this information and to get more safety tips, visit www.preventchildinjury.org and www.kidshealth.org

To prevent a problem, use this checklist. It lists a few common hazards you can look for:

  • Are all farm workers and family members trained and certified in how to use and handle an ATV?
  • Is there available approved protective gear to wear when operating an ATV?
  • Do all of the lights come on when you start the ATV?
  • Is less than one-third of the ATV’s weight on the rear carrying rack?
  • Have you completed a pre-ride inspection (oil levels, gas tank, air levels in tire, etc)?
  • Are all of the important parts of the vehicle tightened (footpegs, footplates, wheels, wheel bolts, etc)?
  • Are all lines and cables intact? Are there any signs of wear or damage?
  • Are children between the age of 12 and 16 only driving smaller ATVs with a 90cc motor under adult supervision?
  • Can the child reach and operate all controls while comfortably seated?

Source and for copies of this form, go to http://umash.umn.edu/farm-safety-check-atv/

Nebraska rural hospitals are seeing an increase in severe injuries from ATVs. According to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, in 2016, ATV incidents resulted in seven deaths, 94 people hospitalized, and 578 people visited the emergency department. Set ATV rules for your family and farm that will lower the chance of having an injury or death for someone you love.

For more on living safer or for a talk at your worksite or club, call Four Corners at 877-337-3573. Send email to info@fourcorners.ne.gov. Have fun this summer but BE SAFE!