Muddy Bottoms ATV and Recreation Park is hosting an ATV Rider Safety Course this Saturday to teach youth how to ride safely and measures that could save their lives.

Holly Liles, injury prevention coordinator with University Health in Shreveport, is teaching the course from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. for ages 6-15, and it is free to the public.

“We go through different techniques, how to properly use your brakes, how to quick stop, quick turn, how to go over obstacles, go up and down hills and how to do a circle,” she said. “It goes through all the basic techniques.”

The participants will get a trail ride and a certificate upon completion of the course, she said.

Participants will need to bring their own ATV, goggles, helmets, gloves, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and boots that cover the ankles. They will not be allowed to ride if participants do not have these items, she said.

As a pediatric nurse by trade, she says she’s seen her share of ATV-related injuries, plus there has been an uptick in ATV injuries in general at University Health, she said.

“Having a pediatric nurse background, I’m used to seeing kids come in with injuries from an ATV crash,” she said. “That sparked it, and we’ve just seen an influx of them with patients in general.”

The most important safety factor for children, she says, is for parents to put them on an ATV that is the correct size for them.

“We don’t need children on adult-sized ATVs,” she said. “The second thing is passengers – we don’t need any more passengers than it’s rated for. I tell them that we wouldn’t put an eight-year-old in a car and let them go, but we think it’s perfectly OK to put them on an ATV that goes just as fast as a car and let them take off with three people on it.”

She says she and her family ride ATVs, and they love it, but parents need to aware of safety.

“I’m definitely not against them, but parents need to open their eyes and look at what they’re doing,” she said.

To sign up, call 1-800-877-2887, or go to the ATV Safety Institute’s website at www.atvsafety.org and get the phone number as parents will have to sign up their children for the course. Parents can also go to the website for more information on the course.