VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - Michael Gavin and his family are avid all-terrain vehicle riders.
"I got a 9, 11 and a 15 year old. The two little ones we let ride in the yard; we let them ride around the yard about 5 mph in first gear. Our biggest son has a dirt bike and a four-wheeler," said Gavin.
Gavin says he's no stranger to the dangers of ATV's.
"I've had friends who killed themselves riding four-wheelers, and hit fences and stuff," Gavin said.
However, danger never hit close to home until Gavin's 11-year-old daughter Sierra was involved in an accident.
"I crashed my four-wheeler in a tree. It started revving up and I couldn't turn fast enough," said Sierra.
When Gavin saw Singing River Health System and Think First's annual ATV safety fair at the Vancleave Feed Sack, he knew he had to participate.
"What we do every year through the Think First program, which is a national injury prevention program for children, we wanna go through and teach them about brain and spinal cord injury prevention," said Heather Sudduth, the coordinator of neuroscience programs at Singing River Health System. "ATV's are very prevalent in our area, so that's one of the components in our area is to teach them how to be safe."
With the help of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, people in attendance received free fitted helmets and a tutorial on the proper riding technique.
"With the ATV's, we wanna make sure that wear the appropriate gear. Wanna make sure that they have on the helmet, that they have goggles and boots. We also wanna make sure that they don't drink and drive when they're on them, and that they don't have a secondary passenger when they're on it so there's no piggybacking."
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2014 there were more than 93,000 ATV-related emergency department treated injuries in the US, and approximately 13,617 ATV-related deaths.