OKLAHOMA CITY – Spring break is right around the corner and many are breaking out their ATVs to enjoy some long-waited warmer weather.
But this fun hobby can have a deadly side to it.
Kaden Hedges, 12, was riding his ATV around the farm.
He never dreamed that would land him in the hospital.
“I was going too fast,” he said. “I went over a hill and it flipped me. I thought I was going to die at the time.”
Luckily a cell phone fell out of the ATV and landed right by Kaden’s head; he was able to call for help.
“I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to walk,” he said. “Because in the hospital I was having trouble getting up.”
Of all deaths caused by ATV accidents, almost half are children 12 and under.
With spring fast approaching, many worry that children are breaking out their ATVs to have fun, without putting safety first.
Experts said you need to have all your gear on before you even get on your vehicle; gloves, boots, long sleeves and helmet.
“It may be the helmet that gets cracked instead of your skull,” ATV instructor Regina McCurdy said.
Kaden’s story is one of the few with a happy ending.
After many nights in the hospital and a surgery later, he’s on the mend.
We’re very blessed,” Kaden’s mom said. “He’s well and can walk and function.”
Before hitting the road this spring, experts recommend taking safety classes and at the very least, wear your helmet at all times.
“A lot of it is they just want to feel the wind in their hair,” McCurdy said. “And what happens is you get on you get secure, everything’s going great, so now you just want to go faster.”
As for Kaden, he said his feelings towards riding ATVs has changed.
When asked what he would do if his friends were going riding, he laughed and said “I wouldn’t go.”
Parents should always supervise younger children and make sure they’re riding age appropriate sized ATVs.