Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority are asking the public not to purchase quad bikes and scramblers as Christmas gifts for children.

In the period between 2014 and 2019, three of the six people who died in Ireland  as a result of an incident involving a quad bike or scrambler on a public road were aged 18 or under, according to provisional statistics from the RSA.

Gardaí said they do not want to be delivering "devastating news to another family this year".

"Children and young teenagers should not be driving these vehicles in public, or without the necessary licence, insurance, safety equipment and supervision," said Assistant Commissioner Paula Hillman from the National Roads Policing and Community Engagement Bureau.

The latest published findings looked at fatal collisions between 2014 and 2019 and injury collisions between 2014 and 2019.

In those defined periods, 41% of people injured or killed in a collision involving a quad bike or scrambler were 18 or under.

This only includes incidents on public roads that were reported to An Garda Síochána.

A new public awareness campaign highlighting the dangers quad bikes and scramblers pose to children has been launched.

"Parents considering buying quad bikes or scramblers for their children this Christmas, need to be aware that when used on a public road they are subject to the same rules as other mechanically propelled vehicles," said Assistant Commissioner Hillman.

"They are required to be registered, taxed and in good road-worthy condition. The driver of the vehicle must hold the appropriate driving licence and be insured to drive the vehicle," she added.

Gardaí said it is an offence for these vehicles to be use din public places such as parks. 

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton said the repercussions of using these vehicles incorrectly "can be very serious" and result in injuries and fatalities. 

"They are being used around housing estates, local parks and on the public road, usually with the riders wearing no protective clothing whatsoever, endangering their own lives and the lives of others," Ms Naughton said.

A spine surgeon at the National Spinal Injuries Unit in the Mater Hospital said collisions can result in paralysis. 

"The dangers these machines pose means that they are not suitable gifts for children," said Consultant Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon Keith Synnott.

He said impacts often happen on uneven ground which leads people to land awkwardly, or the vehicle landing on the rider.

"This could result in paralysis, which can mean being unable to walk or perhaps use your hands to feed yourself and loss of bowel or bladder control. Sometimes, even the inability to breath without the aid of a machine," he added.

RSA Chairperson Liz O'Donnell said quad bikes and scramblers "are not toys".

"If you're planning to gift a quad bike or scrambler this Christmas, please reconsider. If it’s the thought that counts, please think again," she said.