ATVs aren't toys, parents should supervise

July 10, 2009 at 1:40 AM

HOUSTON, July 10 (UPI) -- Children riding all-terrain vehicles need to be carefully supervised, a U.S. emergency medicine doctor cautioned.

Dr. James McCarthy of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston said ATVs should be operated keeping basic rules of safety in mind. McCarthy, medical director of the Emergency Center at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston, said the emergency room has already treated multiple ATV accident victims this summer.

In 2006, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported about 150,000 injuries and 555 fatalities involving ATVs. More than 100 of those fatalities were children under age 16.

"ATVs are vehicles -- not toys," McCarthy said in a statement. "All-terrain vehicles need to be driven responsibly. Alcohol and ATVs definitely do not mix."

He recommends:

-- Having all riders wear protective gear, especially a good helmet.

-- Always sticking to designated trails.

-- Not allowing young riders on adult-sized ATVs.

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