There’s no question farming and ranching can be dangerous for both adults and youth. The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety reports a child dies in an agricultural-related incident every three days.
However, according to recently released federal data, the overall number of youth hurt – or killed – in agricultural accidents continues to decline.
Data from the Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey showed that agricultural accidents injured approximately 14,000 youth, 20-years-old or younger –in 2012. This is 2,000 fewer than reported in 2009.
The rate of injury among youth living on farms also dropped to 8.15 injuries per 1,000 youth.
But the same can’t be said for children.
Experts calculated the rate of farm injuries among children younger than 10 years old and found the rate of farm injuries nearly doubled. In 2012, this rate jumped to 11.3 per 1,000 children in 2012 from 6.6 injuries in 2009. Read the report fact sheet here.
Barbara Lee, principal investigator for the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, explained to the Associated Press that injuries among children were likely not caused by working on the farm but because they happened to be in a dangerous area.
Lee suggests preventing injuries to younger children by keeping them out of barns, fields and other work areas.
“They’re not old enough to take care of themselves, they’re not predictable enough to put them in a dangerous environment, they’re just hanging out,” she said.
Last year, a Kansas farming family and community left mourning after a traffic accident killed a five-year-old girl. The girl was riding in the cab of a combine with her father while harvesting soybeans when the combine hit a bump, causing the windshield to shatter and child to fall out. Read more here.
“Farming in and of itself is one of the most dangerous occupations, so to have that child in that work setting, it’s equivalent to having a child in a construction site,” Lee said.