Friday, June 02, 2017

Ag-related incidents kill a child once every three days; lack of age restrictions cited as key factor

A child dies every three days in an agriculture-related incident, according to the National Children's Center for Rural Agriculture Health and Safety. It cites lack of safety regulations, including age restrictions for use of equipment, as a key factor.

"Unfortunately, children dying in farm accidents is a common tragedy," Wisconsin State Farmer Editor Colleen Kottkee writes in USA Today.

Kottkee spoke with Bryan Weichelt, project scientist with the National Farm Medicine Center and the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. Weichelt told Kottkee one contributing factor is that "Farms are often homes as well as worksites."

Bill Hanson explains to 9-year-old Brandon
the dangers of a tractor in a farm safety event
at Nebraska's Lincoln County Fairgrounds.
(Photo by B.A. Rupert)
"As a fifth-generation farmer, I can attest to the rooted tradition of cultivating the next generation through hands-on training and involvement. Yet, age-appropriate work with a focus on safety is critical, or there may not be a next generation to hand the farm to," Weichelt told Kottkee.

Traditions of rural farming families, "working side by side tilling the soil, milking cows, and tending other livestock are strong and deep," Kottkee writes."Any other industry has strict laws in place regarding child labor, including a minimum age of 18 for operating skid steers. Data indicates that youth (17 and under) are involved in 75 percent of skid steer injuries and deaths, and children ages 6 and under are involved in half of all skid steer incidents."

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