Massachusetts may be the first state in the United States to ban all terrain vehicles (ATV’s) for children under 14. Lawyers who represent families with Boston child injuries applaud the law as a step in the right direction to protect children. The law, called “Sean’s Law,” was named after Sean Kearney, who died in 2006 as a result of an ATV accident. According to Dr. Peter Masiakos, Sean’s surgeon, over 1,000 children per year need Emergency Room treatment following ATV accidents. Many doctors argue that children don’t have the capacity to properly judge dangerous situations that arise when “driving” and that ATV’s don’t have air bags or roofs. Even ATV’s with seat belts don’t provide enough protection they claim.
Michigan has a helmet law; Wisconsin repealed theirs. A quick review of what is out there shows all sorts of websites promoting ATVs for kids, including one that, in all fairness, has news about doctors arguing against ATVs. Concerned Families for ATV Safety has lots of information available for folks interested in learning about the law. It is clear that families have an uphill battle as the industry is not only marketing to children, but designing vehicles to circumvent regulations.