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Are we making progress in childhood agricultural injury prevention?

Lee B
J Agric Saf Health 1999 Feb; 5(1):7-9
Are we making any progress in promoting health and safety for children who are exposed to agricultural hazard. It could be years before anyone is willing to answer this question. Are measures of progress too complicated or just premature? Or is the whole issue too politically and emotionally charged to handle? A "big- city" colleague from a national organization recently purticipated in a farm famity dinner here in Wisconsin in order to gain perspectives on issucs related to children and farm injuries. The dairy farmer and his wife, with whom he spent the evening, have four young children who participate in various farm chores. Although this colleague's career is dedicated to child safcty, he indicated the inherent values of farming and family life have led him to consider, "How much progress do we want'? Given the many positive outcomes of children with loving, hard working parents, perhaps some of the farm injuries are acceptable" Along the same line, we recenlly received a Ietter from a mother who was critical of the MMWR article (CDC, 1999) that reported estimates on farm machinery fatalities and described four childhood farm machinery fatality cases. She wrote, "167 children killed by farm machinery-out of how many in the USA? For heavens sake! These parents did not mean for this to happen. They are among the very few remaining parents who still believe in including children in their daily lives, not dumping them off (daycare, babysitters, latchkey kids). These parents are the last real pioneers still remaining." Unlike fire prevention or infectious disease prevention, where there is uniform agreement on the desired outcome, childhood agricultural injury prevention is more complicated, For some people, the benefits of farm life and participation in agricultural work are worth the occasional childhood injury.
Agriculture; Agricultural-workers; Children; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Hazards; Machine-operators; Families
Barhara Lee, PhD, Director, National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield, Wisconsin
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Agriculture; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Marshfield Medical Research & Education Foundation, Marshfield, Wisconsin
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division