All-terrain vehicle (ATV) legislation in Québec is among the most restrictive in Canada. The purpose of our study was to characterize the pediatric ATV traumas in our center and determine the impact of legislation.
Retrospective chart review of all patients seen in the emergency department after an ATV injury was done from 2005 to 2011.
Seventy-tree patients (50 boys and 23 girls) with a mean age of 11 years (range, 3–17 years) were identified. Forty-nine percent were drivers, 40% were passengers, and 11% unknown. Forty-five percent did not reach the legal age of 16 years. Helmet use was documented in 36%. Eighty-five percent were admitted to the floor, and 15% were discharged from the emergency department. Intensive care unit stay was necessary in 21%, and 60% were operated on. Most of the surgeries were for orthopedic, either extremities, spine, or pelvic (80%). The most frequent types of trauma were extremities (30%), head (30%), and face (25%). Head trauma was severe in 23%. Hospitalization rates for ATV injuries have remained unchanged in the last years.
Despite implementation of ATV legislation regarding helmet use and minimal legal age, a lot of our patients did not obey these rules. This study demonstrates that strong legislation did not have a real impact on ATV morbidity in children. It is essential to develop strategies to enforce ATV users to respect legislation.