A warning after two Tri-Sttate kids had serious injuries following two separate ATV accidents on Sunday.
One ATV crash happened near La Grange, Missouri, sending a 13-year-old to the hospital.
The other happened in Clark County, Missouri where a 9-year-old girl was riding a Polaris Ranger with her 59-year-old grandmother. The 9-year-old was taken to Blessing Hospital with serious injuries after being ejected.
Now, local authorities are urging caution.
James Ruby of Hannibal has been riding all terrain vehicles since he was 3-years-old. He’s been riding competitively for the past couple years and has certainty had his close calls.
“I’ve had a lot of broken bones and a lot of wrecks,” said Ruby. “It’s easy to get run over. I’ve had them roll over top of me.”
The one thing Ruby never forgets to wear is his helmet.
“Make sure, at least, you’re wearing a helmet because one little thing, bouncing off the ground, could kill you right on the spot,” said Ruby.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 93,000 ATV related injuries in the US in 2017. Twenty six percent of those were kids younger than 16.
“This isn’t a toy,” said Andrew Smith with Smith Brothers Honda. “This is something that’s very dangerous and you have to treat it as such.”
Smith advises parents to pay attention to what they’re buying.
“There’s age restrictions on basically every displacement and weight to prevent kids from getting on ATVs that are too heavy for them,” said Smith.
Also, officials only advise riding one person at a time.
“If you’re going to put two people on there you’re taking a large risk,” said Smith. “You have to treat the vehicle with respect to prevent yourself from a possible fatal situation.”
Illinois has some of the least stringent guidelines for riding ATVs; with no restrictions on age, helmet use or number of passengers and no required safety certification, according to the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America.
Missouri laws also mandate that no one under 16 years of age may operate an ATV without adult supervision.
All riders in Iowa who are ages 12 through 17 are required to complete an approved ATV Safety Course, and carry the Iowa ATV Safety Certificate with them while riding