Chandlerís Law marks new safety rules for children on ATVs

Heather Woolwine

June 30, 2011

Chandlerís Law marks new safety rules for children on ATVs

SC Childrenís Hospital Collaborative, various groups launch education campaign

CHARLESTON -- Effective July 1, Chandlerís Law regarding children and ATV riding will be implemented to decrease the rapidly rising number of ATV-related injuries and deaths in South Carolina. Forty-four states have enacted ATV riding laws for children, and many of these states have seen reductions in the number of ATV deaths and accidents since those laws went on the books. The law becoming effective could not be more timely, with the death of 11 year-old Kershaw resident Kyle Kelly on June 25 from not wearing a helmet and riding the wrong size ATV.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics promotes the idea that no child under 16 should operate an ATV (all-terrain vehicle), the South Carolina legislature has initiated a different approach for this largely rural state. A full copy of the law can be found here:

"We have treated numerous children with fatal or serious injuries as a result of riding ATVs that were not the right size for their age or most often, because they were unsupervised and not wearing safety gear when riding," said Fred Tecklenburg, M.D., MUSC Childrenís Hospital pediatric intensive care unit medical director. "Weíre supporting this law at MUSC because itís a step in the right direction. My hope is that this law will mean I see fewer children with life-altering injuries, or worse, children dying as a result of riding on ATVs."

In an effort to make sure that all current and future riders and their parents are familiar with the law, the South Carolina Childrenís Hospital Collaborative, of which MUSC is a founding member, has created a website,, to educate the public on the law and provide information on training sites around the state. SafeKids South Carolina, SCDHEC, and the USC Child Law Office were also instrumental in helping the Collaborative initiate and implement communication efforts regarding the new law.

The focus of these educational efforts is to communicate to parents who choose to let their children ride ATVs that they are legally responsible for what their child does or doesnít do when riding. In addition, the group wants parents to promote the idea of adventure and safety coexisting together to reduce ATV injuries and deaths.

"This law is not about trying to judge people or tell them what to do for the sake of telling them what to do," said Pam Saylor, Chandlerís mother, who worked for more than eight years with her husband, Steve, to get the bill passed. "This law is about making children in our state safer. ATVs are here, and they arenít going anywhere. Chandlerís law protects children by requiring that they are riding the right size ATV for their age, wearing the right safety gear, and getting the proper training to operate an ATV. Parents have the power to create better, safer riders. We hope that parents across the state will join us in reducing the number of ATV tragedies and life-altering accidents involving the children of South Carolina."

To see more of the Saylors' story and why they worked for an ATV law, go to

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.7 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic information or clinical services, visit or