Union Tribune Eric Edmonds report on off-roading in Southern California’s deserts, and underscores the increased risk of serious injuries to children resulting from the operation of all terrain vehicles (ATV’s). Off-roading in California takes place all year long; however, in the fall when desert temperatures become cooler, greater numbers of off-road enthusiasts driving ATV’s such as motorcycles, trucks and quads flock to popular areas such as Glamis in the San Diego county. Consequently, these areas start to resemble war zones as a result of accidents caused by reckless drivers.
A research study being conducted at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital in conjunction with Children’s Hospital of Orange County, has shown some interesting patterns regarding the peak desert season and off-road vehicle-related injuries in children. The age of the children injured ranges from 8 months to 14 years, which is the cutoff age for trauma being directed to a children’s hospital. Fractures represent forty percent of the injuries, half of which require surgery, and 20 percent of the injuries involved the skull, brain, spine, or other internal injuries. Accidents involving dirt bikes are the primary cause of serious injuries accounting for approximately 45% of injuries and ATVs, quads, and other vehicles make up the rest. Many of those injured fail to use proper safety equipment and or lack the safety training in the first instance. In addition, the study suggests that the lack of adequate regulation and enforcement is also of great concern.
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