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News Releases

For Immediate Release

ATV "Clothesline" Injuries Highlight Dangers of Summer Trauma Season as School Year Comes to an End

Every summer several children in western Pennsylvania are killed in ATV-related crashes

Several severe and potentially life-threatening accidents involving children riding on ATVs or dirt bikes who were "clotheslined" by wires in recent weeks highlight the need for safety and injury prevention this summer.

With the school year coming to an end, trauma experts at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh warn that kids face a variety of dangers - including ATV crashes - as they head outdoors.

A dozen children have been admitted to Children's over the past month for ATV- or dirt bike-related injuries, including three patients who were injured when they were hit in the neck by wires as they were riding ATVs or dirt bikes. Last year 57 kids were admitted to Children's for ATV-related injuries, up from 40 in 2003.

"I don't think parents realize that a significant number of children in western Pennsylvania are injured on ATVs every year, particularly during the summer months," said Barbara A. Gaines, MD, director of the Benedum Trauma Program at Children's. "What is worrisome is that the kids riding these adult-sized machines are becoming more brazen, and these so-called clothesline injuries are an example of the extreme dangers ATV pose. We recommend that only children 16 or older be permitted to operate full-size ATVs."

Although ATV crashes are one of the most debilitating and deadliest summer traumas, children can suffer injuries from many summer-related traumas like near drownings and drownings, scooter and bicycle crashes, dog bites, playground falls, trampolines, lawnmowers, fireworks, and baseball and soccer.

More unintentional childhood injuries and deaths occur between May and August than any other time of the year, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, of which Children's is a member.

"We view trauma as a seasonal issue and we urge parents to remind their children about safety precautions," Dr Gaines said. "It only takes a moment to prevent what could be a lifelong or even fatal injury."

For more information about summer trauma season and injury prevention tips, visit Children's Web site at and click on Injury Prevention .

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
June 17, 2008
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Last Update
June 17, 2008