Alberta doctors urge parents to keep kids off ATVs
Doctors at Edmonton's Stollery Children's Hospital are calling on parents to keep their children off all-terrain vehicles until they are at least 16.
"It breaks my heart when I have a teenager ... go on one of these machines — a 12, 13-year-old — and then dies in my ICU," said Dr. Daniel Garros.
This month alone, Stollery doctors treated four children with severe injuries sustained while riding ATVs. Two have died.
Last year, the Stollery treated 105 young patients for ATV-related injuries which Garros said include severe head trauma, broken spleens and damaged livers. Garros said the powerful machines typically flip over, crushing the youths underneath.
"What we are doing here is we're trying to prevent these injuries because we cannot continue like that," Garros said.
Thirteen-year-old CJ Gordon suffered major internal injuries and nearly died last year after she lost control of the ATV she was driving.
"Lacerated spleen, a lacerated liver," her mother Brenda Gordon said. "Her pancreas was severed and her kidney was popped open."
"It was a long time to be in the hospital," CJ said. "The fact that I might not have made it scares me a lot. "
Garros hopes the injury statistics will convince parents to keep their children off the machines. But Brenda Gordon says her family has another trip planned this summer and CJ is already back on a quad.
"I can never stop an accident and it was an accident," she said.
Officials with Alberta Transportation said the province is not planning any regulations to limit the age of children who ride ATVs or to mandate helmet use.