Utah ranks number one in United States for ATV child injuries

Jul 1, 2021, 4:08 PM
utah atv injuries...
Justin Marian, 14, jumps into the air on his ATV while rinding trails in south Utah County. photo by Dan Lund 04/29/03 (Submission date: 04/30/2003)
(Submission date: 04/30/2003)

SALT LAKE CITY– Utah ranks number one in the United States on a list involving ATV child injuries. 

Jessica Strong, the Community Health Manager at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital explains the Beehive State has the highest number of children seriously injured when it comes to All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) accidents.

At a press conference Thursday morning, Strong said “we saw a 34% increase in traumatic injuries between 2019 and 2020.”  Current trends show 2021 is on track to surpass that number.

ATV injuries take life of Utah child 

Former Utah state legislator and ATV safety advocate Karen Hale said her daughter Chelsea, died from an ATV accident. 

One evening Chelsea went ATV riding with friends. Hale said, “we received a phone call late at night saying there was an accident and to get to the hospital.” But her daughter wasn’t there. Hale explained doctors and staff told her, “Chelsea was never delivered to the hospital. She died at the scene. I learned she wasn’t wearing a helmet. She was taken directly to the mortuary.”

Karen Hale said the man who investigated her daughter’s accident contacted her several years later. Hale learned the size of the ATV needs to match the size of the rider, and the amount of weight on a vehicle affects how it handles.  

Hale stated she and her husband also stressed the importance of safety and wearing helmets.  

Safety experts advise ATV education 

Chris Hallar, the Off Highway Vehicle Program Coordinator at the Utah Department of Resources, said “education may be required for anyone 16 years and younger to ride an ATV, but it is open to everyone.”

Hallar stated there are 80,000 miles of trails and riders need to take responsibility for knowing how to operate a vehicle and be safe while doing so.

“Just take eight precious seconds to make an investment in their [your kid’s] lives in order to ensure their safety,” said Hallar.  “That’s three seconds simply to click a seatbelt in a UTV or side-by-side. And five additional seconds to buckle their helmet.”

One family was lucky

Two parents from Las Vegas, Jessica and Beau, spoke about a serious accident, which they say should have claimed the life of their daughter, Amelia.

According to Jessica, her daughter was riding a Razor ATV when she lost control and it rolled on top of her.  Not only was an emergency nurse riding in the area, but there was also a satellite phone at the cabin where they were staying.

Jessica said Amelia was life-flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital where she was placed in a medically induced coma. Doctors advised the family the prognosis was very poor as both of Amelia’s lungs were collapsed and her trachea was detached.

“The only reason Amelia survived was because she was wearing a full-face helmet,” Jessica indicated. 

Amelia’s father, Beau added “we should’ve had other safety measures in place for when our kids weren’t riding with us. It was a miracle Amelia is still with us and able to do backflips now.”

Avoiding ATV injuries in Utah 

Strong wrapped up the press conference with a strong advisory. 

“Make sure both you and your children know how to ride. Stick to the correct number of riders for each vehicle. Protect yourself with other safety gear,” said Strong. 

For a more complete list of safety items and for ATV education, click here.


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Utah ranks number one in United States for ATV child injuries