By Kurtis Chien-Young
A study of patients at a Houston-based trauma center found a remarkably high rate of chest injury among children involved in all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents. The study was a retrospective analysis of patients eighteen years and younger over an eleven year period, and found that twenty-two percent of patients admitted for ATV-related accidents had suffered some sort of chest injury. These injuries often resulted from vehicle rollovers, collisions with terrain, falls, and even ejections. Of the children who suffered chest injuries following ATV-related accidents, forty percent were reported to have been operating the vehicle at the time of the accident. In twenty-seven percent of the cases, whether the child was driving or riding the vehicle was left ambiguous. These numbers raise some concern regarding the use of ATVs by children.
The chest injuries most often entailed some lung or rib damage. The majority of children suffering from chest injury had pulmonary contusion, a condition involving the bruising of the lung, which allows for blood and bodily fluids to accumulate in the lung tissue. Collapsed lungs and fractured ribs were also found to be fairly common among admitted patients. Of course, chest injuries do not represent the entirety of the risks involved in driving ATVs. Other serious injuries, such as orthopedic and neurological damage, were also found to be prevalent in preceding studies. Dr. Kelly Hagedorn, a radiology resident involved in the review of the injuries, stresses the potential dangers involved with allowing children to drive or ride ATVs, and calls for heightened public awareness in light of the results of the study.
Radiological Society of North America. "New report warns of chest injuries in children after ATV accidents." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161129152630.htm>.