Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2007-161, 2007 Aug; :1-8
In 2004, 2.1 million farms were operated in the U.S. Nearly 1/3 (650,000) of these farms reported having youth less than 20 years old living on them. Over 1.25 million youth lived on these farms. 27,600 injuries (3.1 injuries every hour) occurred to youth who lived on, worked on, or visited these farms. Approximately 2/3 (18,800) of the injuries were to youth who lived on the farm. Between 1995 and 2002, 907 youth died on farms (43 deaths/100,000 youth). Of the 907 youth who died on farms in the U.S., most were between the ages of 16 and 19 years. The majority of deaths to youth on U.S. farms were due to machinery (23%), such as tractors; motor vehicles (19%), which include ATVs; and drowning (16%). The most common sources for the 18,800 non-fatal injuries to youth living on a U.S. farm were: Persons, animals, plants, minerals (23%); Floors, walkways, ground (21%); and, Vehicles (ATVs, tractors, automobiles, 16%). The most common types of injury were: Broken bone (26%); Cut (25%); and, Sprain, strain, torn ligament (11%). The body parts most commonly injured were: Arm (17%); Hand, wrist, finger (16%); and, Foot, ankle, toe (16%). Children do what they see...be a good role model for farm safety. Devote a day to FARM SAFETY with your children. Inspect your farm for hazards to children. Remove as many hazards as possible. Mark dangerous areas clearly with hazard signs. Provide an enclosed and supervised safe play area for children. Do not allow children to play around machinery, workshops, storage buildings, or where work is occurring on the farm. Assign farm chores to youth that are appropriate for their age such as those recommended in the North American Guidelines for Childhood Agricultural Tasks (NAGCAT). Teach youth how to handle and work with animals safely. Farm animals that are breeding, have newborns, or are sick can be aggressive, make sure children have no contact with these animals. Children should wear proper protective clothing when handling animals. For example, youth should always wear a helmet when riding horses. All household pets should have proper health checks and shots. Do not allow extra riders on tractors, all terrain vehicles (ATVs) and other farm equipment; follow the "ONE SEAT-ONE RIDER" rule. NEVER leave keys in the ignition of machinery or vehicles. Limit operation of ATVs, tractors, and machinery to older youth. ATV manufacturers recommend that riders be at least 16 years of age for ATVs 400cc or larger, and that they take an ATV safety training course. Youth should not operate any ATV without wearing a helmet. Child labor laws require that hired youth be at least 16 years old to operate tractors and machinery on farms, except for 14- and 15-year olds who have received operator certification. All youth should be properly trained before operating tractors or machinery. Child labor laws do not apply to youth on their family's farm. However, they are a good guide for when youth are old enough to do hazardous work safely. Youth, like adults, should not operate farm tractors without a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS) and a seatbelt. Youth should not operate tractors or other vehicles on public roads without a driver's license. Always supervise children when playing in or near water. All entrances to ponds, lagoons, pools, and manure pits should be restricted. All farm ponds should have water safety and rescue equipment. Alcohol contributes to many teen drownings on farms. Talk to your teens about the dangers of drinking and swimming. Never leave containers with standing water in areas where toddlers are present.