According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the U.S. during April 2010, 40 people were killed riding ATVs, 12 of them children under the age of 16. In May, 13 children died in ATV-related accidents. And in the past few weeks in Michigan alone, 5 children under the age of 14 have died or suffered severe injuries, while riding an ATV. Children and ATVs do not mix. This opinion is shared by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, whose members each year treat thousands of children injured by ATVs. These doctors and consumer advocacy groups support legislation that would prohibit ATV use by unlicensed adolescents under the age of 16. Michigan law allows children under 16 to operate an ATV if they wear a helmet, have safety training and follow other rules. Yet studies show that helmets do not provide sufficient protection for young riders who suffer more severe injuries, longer hospital stays and more surgeries than if they have been riding a conventional bicycle. Studies also found that despite surviving an ATV-related accident, children return to riding ATVs with their safety behaviors unaltered. The findings of these studies reinforce the need for legislation to keep children under 16 off these dangerous vehicles. Although the case for new legislation about who can ride an ATV is strong, the ATV industry continues to fight against it, and has failed to heed the serious warnings of consumer advocacy groups. Instead, companies such as Yamaha, while aggressively marketing these dangerous vehicles to youngsters, avoid federal and state regulation by “doctoring” documents and publishing false statistics to show ATV deaths and injuries are declining, when in fact the opposite is true. Legislation will help to save lives, but in the end, the ATV industry must endeavor to produce safer vehicles and support regulations to protect children under 16. For more information, visit atvsafetynet.org.