|Jacob Mosbacher, 10, drives a tractor on his|
grandparents' farm near Fults, Ill. (AP photo)
The law bars workers under 16 from hazardous jobs on farms but "protects workers under 18 in non-farm jobs," Mercer notes. "Teens from 15 to 17 working on farms are four times more likely to die on the job than teenagers in all other jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports."
States also have child-labor laws, and Mercer gives a rundown of them. Mary Miller, child labor specialist in the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry, who has worked in child labor for about 20 years, told Mercer, “I’m constantly skunked that there’s no constituency for child workers. They don’t vote.” Two years ago, the Obama administration abandoned its efforts to "revise the list of hazardous duties children could perform," Mercer notes.