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Safety Tips for ATV Riders: Increasing All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Knowledge Through An In-Classroom Educational Intervention

Monday, October 22, 2012
Versailles Ballroom (Hilton Riverside)
Charles A. Jennissen, MD, FACEP1, Gerene M. C. Denning1, Kristel M. Wetjen2, Jeffrey H. Peck3, Karisa K. Harland1 and Pamela Hoogerwerf4, (1)Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Iowa Children's Hospital and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA, (2)Department of Surgery, University of Iowa Children's Hospital and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA, (3)U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coralville Lake, Iowa City, IA, (4)Patient and Family Centered Services, University of Iowa Children's Hospital, Iowa City, IA

Purpose: All-terrain vehicle (ATV)-related injuries have almost tripled in the past decade with about one in three injuries involving children 16 years and younger. More children die each year in the United States from ATVs than from bicycle crashes. ATV safety education is considered essential to change this trend. However, many children receive little or no instruction.  The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an in-classroom program to educate young adolescents about the key principles of safe ATV operation.

Methods: A multi-disciplinary ATV task force was formed and funding was secured from Kohl’s Department Stores and their Kohl’s Cares program through the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. A 40-50 minute interactive educational program was developed highlighting our ten "Safety Tips for ATV Riders" and targeting 12-15 year olds. The educational intervention included video or live testimonials from injured individuals or their families, and demonstration of an ATV tilt table highlighting ATV instability. An audience response system was utilized to obtain demographic information, and to assess knowledge and knowledge acquisition

Results: About 1900 students in 13 Eastern Iowa schools received the ATV safety educational intervention. On the three knowledge questions, the percentage of students with correct answers pre-intervention were 52, 27 and 46% which rose to 93, 80 and 79% correct on post-exam, respectively. 44% said they were likely or very likely to use the ATV safety tips they had learned, while 36% said they were unlikely or very unlikely to do so. 

Conclusion: Most youth in the study demonstrated a deficiency in some ATV safety knowledge. However, our classroom educational intervention was able to increase short-term ATV safety knowledge and a significant proportion of participants felt they would use the safety information presented. Further study is needed to determine if such an intervention results in long-term knowledge acquisition and actual behavior change.