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ACC warns that children and ATVs don’t mix

ACC warns that children and ATVs don’t mix

ACC warned today that a child in a car seat attached to an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) created an unacceptable risk to both driver and child.

ACC Injury Prevention programme manager John Wallaart said ATVs, also known as “Farm Bikes”, “Quad Bikes” and “4-wheelers”, are responsible for about one-third of all farm fatalities as well as injuries to more than 850 people each year.

“It is already a cause for concern that about five percent of all ATV injuries occur to children under the age of 16,” he said. “All the manufacturers recommend that these children should not drive an ATV.”

“An attachment to an ATV like a child car seat will significantly increase the potential for an injury accident. ATVs require ‘active riding’ for control, and passengers should not be carried.”

Mr Wallaart said any attachments to an ATV needed to be specifically approved by the manufacturer.

“The placement of an attachment like a child car seat is critical because of its impact on the vehicle’s centre of gravity and potential to roll-over. The security of the mounting is also important.”

Initially developed for the recreational industry, Mr Wallaart says ATVs have become widely accepted by New Zealand farmers as a routine and essential farm tool, which is why the Corporation has funded the development of a manufacturing standard for ATV helmets.

“Research has found that the number of head injuries suffered in ATV accidents could be substantially reduced if the rider wore a helmet, but until now a manufacturing standard for an ATV helmet didn’t exist,” he said.

ACC in partnership with Federated Farmers, the Agriculture ITO, Agriculture New Zealand and Telford Rural Polytech are also running seminars under the FarmSafe programme throughout New Zealand.

The FarmSafe seminars focus on the common causes of farm injuries, what can be done to avoid them, and how farmers can identify and deal with potential hazards on their properties. Details of local seminars are available on freephone 0800-545-747.

Other ACC injury prevention measures for rural people include guides on safe tractor and ATV use, videos on cattle handling and dairy work, field day information stalls, research, as well as beef sheep and dairy industry safety standard-setting.

ACC’s General Manager (Injury Prevention and Client Services) Darrin Goulding says in recent years, the cost of farm injury claims within some risk groups has risen so much that ACC farming levies have been pushed up.

He says these increasing costs are the main factor behind proposed increases to levies in some categories for 2003/04, such as livestock farming. However there has been also a fall in the cost of farm injury claims within other risk groups such as cropping/horticulture, and this has been the main factor behind proposed reductions to these levies for 2003/04.

“If farmers can turn around the situation in high injury-cost risk groups and reduce not just the numbers but also the cost of claims, there will ultimately be a lower ACC levy to pay,” Mr Goulding said. “Other industries have done this (68% of all levy classes are decreasing) and ACC wants to help farming do so as well.”

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