CCHS recognized for ATV safety initiatives

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The Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Program at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt celebrated the hard work of several area high school students during a special ceremony Friday, May 10.

The Tennessee ATV Safety Program, launched in September 2018, is designed to give students the necessary tools to support an awareness campaign focused on ATV usage and safety.

"ATV-related injuries are the fifth leading cause of trauma admissions for the hospital and accounted for 69 hospital admissions in 2017," said Purnima Unni, MPH, Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention Manager at Children's Hospital.

"Two of the most common things we see with our ATV trauma patients -- they are not wearing helmets and they are either carrying passengers or are a passenger themselves," she said. "Both can result in serious injuries. Head injuries are the leading cause of death and disability in ATV-related crashes."

Participating schools were tasked with creating ATV safety campaigns for their schools and communities.

Funded by a grant through Farm Bureau Health Plans, the hospital partnered with Tennessee 4-H, Tennessee Future Farmers of America (FFA) Association and the Tennessee Coalition for OHV Safety to implement the program in Bedford, Cannon, Clay, Giles, Robertson and Trousdale counties.

Winners of the various categories were recently announced.

Best Campaign:

Clay County -- first place

Trousdale County -- second place

Giles County -- third place

Best T-shirt and Logo Design Award:

Cannon County -- first place

Clay County -- second place

PSA Award:

Bedford County -- first place

Giles County -- second place

Cannon County -- third place

"The students did an incredible job this pilot year of spreading the message of ATV safety both in their schools and their communities," said Unni. "We are so pleased at the level of engagement the students were able to garner. The initiatives brought about positive change within these communities.

"It was the goal of the program -- to foster an environment where students could help spread awareness about the known risks that these vehicles pose and encourage safe driving and riding practices among their peers."

As temperatures rise, the number of ATV-related incidents also increase. Unni urges ATV owners to be mindful of the following American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Surgeon safety measures:

• Children 16 and younger should not ride ATVs due to the high risk of injuries

• Always wear protective gear, especially a helmet

• Avoid driving ATVs with a passenger or riding as a passenger

• Do not drive ATVs on paved roads

• Do not permit children to drive or ride adult ATVs

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