Melonie Frasure, RN, is the Trauma Coordinator at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. She's seen plenty of injuries from ATV and off-road vehicle riding. In this video, Melonie shares her advice for avoiding the Emergency Room this summer.
Select the Correct ATV
- Every ATV has a rider age minimum and a weight recommendation. Ride an ATV that is right for you. Most ATV's weigh several hundred pounds and these guidelines are associated with weight and power of that machine.
- Know how many riders your ATV is designed to accommodate. Many are single rider machines, and remember those designed for two riders should not carry more than that.
- Pick the ATV that fits the needs of your family. Consider having that discussion prior to purchase.
- Take a hands-on ATV training course. Many states offer them—often free of charge with a paid ATV registration.
- Any new riders in your family should also take this training as they become old enough.
- Youth riders need to be closely supervised by a responsible adult.
- Children are close watchers and mimic what the big people do. Don't leave keys in the ignition and do not leave a machine running unattended for any period of time.
- Children should only ride with an experienced rider on an ATV designed to hold more than one rider.
Use the right gear for the sport, including gloves, goggles, and most importantly helmets. Here are some things to consider with helmets:
- Sizing matters. Helmets need to fit appropriately. This makes borrowing a helmet a difficult. If you are going to be engaging in the sport, this is the best investment you can make for safety and no one, regardless of age or experience, should be riding without a helmet.
- When a helmet has been involved in an accident, it is no longer a functioning helmet. Helmets are designed to absorb energy by breaking so that energy is not passed onto the head inside. For that reason helmets need to be replaced after an accident.
- The type of helmet matters. Not just any helmet is appropriate for ATV riding; bicycle or skateboarding helmets are not an appropriate substitute.
Appropriate Riding Locations
- Pick appropriate riding locations. Ride to the experience of least skilled rider, not the most experienced.
- Ride initially in locations that are not remote. If you do encounter problems it is better to be close to help.
- ATV's are designed to ride off Highway. Never ride on paved roads—another vehicle could hit you.