ATV injury prevention program designed for schools - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

ATV injury prevention program designed for schools

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - They look like a fun ride. But when ATVs tip over, they can crush or kill a child.

"There was a group of us that got together realizing that there were a disproportionate amount of kids getting hurt on four-wheelers and we wanted to do something about it," said Kristel Wetjen, pediatric trauma nurse coordinator at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.

From 2010 to 2013, the hospital admitted 90 kids with injuries from ATVs and similar vehicles.

Five of them died -- a mortality rate of 6 percent compared to the mortality rate of all kids, which is just 2 percent.

That's why the hospital has partnered with several other groups to create an ATV injury prevention program.

However, one surgeon has a different opinion. He says he's seen far too many kids be injured by ATVs and has a message he wants parents to hear.

"It's an extremely high risk endeavor and there just is no safe way to allow your child to ride on an ATV," said Dr. Graeme Pitcher, a pediatric surgeon.

Still, members of the task force that run the prevention program say they know many families will continue using the vehicles.

They say many kids who get hurt aren't regular riders, so they bring the program to different schools across the state, where they can reach any child.

"Our task force very much understand the importance of ATVs in our state," said Wetjen. "Farmers use them. People that have animals use them. They're a good work machine."

All the materials for the program are available online: http://www.uichildrens.org/atv-safety/
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