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Gear Up Before Revving Up ATVs
Date:7/14/2008

Plastic Surgeons Want to Prevent Serious Injuries in Kids

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., July 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fourteen-year old Cristian Avina knows all too well the devastating injuries all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) can cause. Four months ago, Cristian and his sister, Rociel, hopped on an ATV for a little innocent fun in the desert near their home. Cristian was riding tandem with his sister when a bird flew into them causing him to lose control. The ATV crashed, sending Cristian and Rociel flying -- neither was wearing a helmet. Cristian suffered serious head injuries, including an amputated ear.

"This has been a nightmare," said Martha Avina, Cristian and Rociel's mother. "Rociel was not badly hurt and went for help. Upon her return, she saw that her brother had been pecked at and his severed ear had been partially eaten by vultures. Cristian's ear could not be reattached -- reconstructive plastic surgery to rebuild it started this summer."

Whether on vacation or out for recreation, many adults and children are hopping on ATVs for some warm weather fun. But ATVs are not toys. They can go more than 60 miles per hour, weigh more than 700 pounds and tip over easily. In fact, more than 135,000 Americans are injured in ATV-related accidents each year, 30 percent of them children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports.

The American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons (ASMS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) are urging ATV riders, especially parents and children, to be more cautious and follow safety tips to help reduce the incidence of ATV-related injuries.

"Unfortunately, cases like Cristian's are not uncommon," said ASMS President Andrew Wexler, MD. "It will take multiple reconstructive surgeries -- attaching an implant, providing soft tissue coverage and skin grafting -- to rebuild Cristian's ear. Each year, plastic surgeons treat thousands of patients with severe head trauma, eye in
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SOURCE American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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