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Rise in Quad Bike injuries at Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Abbie Tiller

Quad bike warning for parents

Parents are being urged to keep children away from quad bikes and all-terrain vehicles, following a concerning rise in injury presentations at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

The hospital’s Paediatric Major Trauma Service has treated eight patients from December to March who have been injured by both adult and child sized quad bikes.

The children were aged between two and 15 and sustained injuries including fractures, lacerations, and head injuries, with some requiring operations and a stay in hospital.

WCH trauma specialists have seen an alarming increase in quad bike related presentations in the past few years. The eight incidents from 1 December 2023 to 31 March 2024 compares to eight incidents in total for the whole of 2022 and 12 in 2023.

The warning to parents follows the tragic deaths of three men in separate quad bike accidents in South Australia in just the past fortnight.

There are an average of 15 fatalities every year across Australia and a further 1,400 serious injuries associated with quad bikes.

Quad bikes are the leading cause of death on Australian farming properties

Children are at greater risk of being seriously injured or killed while using a quad bike due to their small body size and their lack of weight, strength, reflexes, or cognitive ability to safely operate a quad bike.

Extreme caution should always be taken when operating all-terrain vehicles, including quad bikes. They are extremely unstable once even a single wheel doesn’t touch the ground, and when turning corners – particularly for children who aren’t heavy enough to shift their weight to balance the vehicle.

The warning marks the start of Paediatric Trauma Prevention Year 2024 at the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, which aims to help reduce preventable deaths and serious injuries to children and young people.

Kidsafe SA is supporting the trauma service in its warning to parents of the dangers of quad bikes to help reduce any preventable death or serious injuries to children.

Experts say parents should ensure that:-

Children under 16 never ride a quad bike as a driver or passenger.

Young children are always closely supervised when they are near quad bikes.

Adults model safe practices, including wearing an approved helmet and protective clothing when riding a quad bike.

Quad bikes ridden by adults are well maintained, comply with the Australian Standard, and have an Operator Protection Device (OPD) in place

Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Chris Picton said very preventable trauma injury among children is one too many.

“This is an alarming increase in quad bike injuries involving children which could very easily have been fatalities.

Children and heavy machinery do not mix. Kids simply don’t have the skills or power to operate these vehicles safely.”

Women’s and Children’s Hospital Paediatric Trauma Nurse Consultant Jackie Winters said “Quad bikes are not toys. We do not want to see another child become severely disabled, or even worse.

Although children’s quad bikes are legal, we do not recommend allowing children to ride them, as they don’t have the right abilities or size to operate them in a safe way.

The average two-year-old weighs less than 30 kilograms, while child-size quad bikes weigh upwards of 150 kilograms. It is incredibly easy for a child to be crushed by an all-terrain vehicle or sustain injuries while travelling at speed.

Because quad bikes appear sturdy, parents can get the false impression that they are safe for children to use. We want to give the clear message that as clinicians who are seeing a rising number of children severely injured and distressed, these vehicles are not safe for children to use in any circumstance.”

To find out more about quad bike safety, visit the Kidsafe website.


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