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Off-roading is exciting, as long as it's done with care

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In sprawling South Florida communities, it's not uncommon to see tweens and teens zipping around in golf carts. It's a quick, easy way to get from point A to point B; it's fuel-efficient; and it relieves parents of having to drive everywhere.

But golf carts and similar vehicles can pose particular risk to kids.

More than 13,000 people a year suffer golf cart-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Safety Protection Commission. An estimated 40 percent of those hurt were children younger than 16.

In Florida, golf carts cannot be operated on state roads, but cities and counties can chose to allow them on designated streets. No one younger than 14 is allowed to drive a golf cart under state law. It's generally recommended that children younger than 6 should not be allowed on a cart and the cart should go no faster than 15 mph.

When it comes to ATVs, an estimated 29,000 children younger than 16 are brought into emergency rooms nationwide every year with injuries related to the vehicles.

TIPS FROM ATV SAFETY INSTITUTE:

  • All riders younger than 16 must wear helmets and be supervised.
  • Ride an ATV that’s a right fit. Never have a passenger on a single-rider ATV.
  • Ride on designated trails at safe speeds. Never ride on roads unless to cross them.
  • Wear a helmet, goggles, gloves, long sleeves and long pants.
  • Never drink and drive.
SOURCES:

Safe Kids Worldwide
U.S. Consumer Safety Protection Commission
ATV Safety Institute

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