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Ability of youth operators to reach agricultural all-terrain vehicles controls.

PROBLEM: Utility All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are one major cause of youth injuries and fatalities on farms. Utility ATVs have heavy weights and fast speeds that require complex maneuvering. Youth's physical capabilities may not be sufficient to perform those complex maneuvers correctly. Therefore, it is hypothesized that most youth engage in ATV-related incidents because they ride vehicles unfit for them. There is a need to assess ATV-youth fit based on youth anthropometry.

METHOD: This study focused on evaluating potential inconsistencies between the operational requirements of utility ATVs and the anthropometric measures of youth through virtual simulations. Virtual simulations were performed to assess 11 youth-ATV fit guidelines proposed by several ATV safety advocacy organizations (National 4-H council, CPSC, IPCH, and FReSH). In total, 17 utility ATVs along with male-and-female-youth of nine ages (8 to 16 years old) and three height percentiles (5th, 50th, and 95th) were evaluated.

RESULTS: The results demonstrated a physical mismatch between ATVs' operational requirements and youth's anthropometry. For example, male-youth aged 16 of the 95th height percentile failed to pass at least 1 out of the 11 fit guidelines for 35 % of all vehicles evaluated. The results were even more concerning for females. Female youth 10 years old and younger (from all height percentiles) failed to pass at least one fit guideline for all ATVs evaluated.

DISCUSSION: Youth are not recommended to ride utility ATVs.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: This study provides quantitative and systematic evidence to modify current ATV safety guidelines. Furthermore, youth occupational health professionals could use the present findings to prevent ATV-related incidents in agricultural settings.

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