Reuters / More than 26,000 children and adolescents are injured on U.S. farms and ranches every year, racking up costs of more than $1.4 billion — but only 84 of these were fatal, according to a new study.
The findings, the first of their kind, were published in the journal Pediatrics and based on government surveys of childhood injuries. In 2001, about 1.1 million U.S. children and adolescents were living on farms or ranches.
Fewer than a third of the injuries were work related but 14 per cent led to hospitalization — 10 times the rate for injured youth in the general population.
“Agriculture injury is usually more severe than injuries to other types of audiences,” said safety expert Dennis Murphy.
“It’s usually because of the equipment that’s being used. It’s powerful machines that will tear you apart very quickly.”
Falls and transportation were the most common reasons for non-deadly injuries.
Children shouldn’t handle equipment or do chores they aren’t ready for, said Murphy.
“We know that most parents almost always overestimate their kids’ abilities when it comes to work tasks,” Murphy said.
“Kids should not be in a rush to do adult things with tractors and other machines.”