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Agricultural Injuries in Canadian Children Aged 10 to 14

Updated July 2008

The most frequent causes of death for school-aged children ten to fourteen years old were tractor and off road vehicle (ORV) rollovers, extra rider runovers, and ORV collisions. Older school-aged children were most commonly hospitalized for animal-related incidents, falls from height, entanglements and being pinned or struck by a machine.

Children aged ten to fourteen comprise about 9.5% of the Canadian farm population (2001). Between 1990 and 2004, 51 older children were killed in agricultural injury events (3.0% of all fatalities). From April 1990 to March 2000 an additional 743 children ten to fourteen years old were hospitalized for agricultural injuries (5% of all hospitalizations). Children aged ten to fourteen represented 24.4% of the agricultural fatalities and 39.4% of the agricultural hospitalizations in children under fifteen years old.

CAIR’s circumstance descriptions show that extra rider runovers in this age group typically involve children standing on tractor hitches, riding on the back bumpers of trucks, or harvesting fruit while standing in moving wagons. Children of any age should not be allowed to ride on tractors and other farm machinery.

Working with or taking part in recreational activities involving large animals can cause serious or fatal injuries. All animals should be handled with caution. Children should wear CSA-approved helmets when riding horses. Work tasks involving large animals should not be attempted before the age of 10. Children should then be supervised appropriately and given increased responsibilities as they mature.

Children aged ten to fourteen generally do not have the experience or skill required to operate tractors safely on uneven terrain, or to work with or near machinery that could be an entanglement or pinning hazard. Children as young as six have died in rollovers while operating lawn tractors, ORVs, and full-sized tractors to complete work tasks. When assigning any agricultural work to children, parents should adhere to the North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks. (Please see the Links page of this Web site.)

Dr. Will Pickett, Co-Director of The Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting states that, “As parents increase their child’s involvement in work on the farm or ranch, it is of the utmost importance that they teach proper agricultural practices, including the safe handling of animals. Doing so could result in fewer children being injured.”

This information is derived from data collected and analyzed by Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program collaborators and staff. CAIR is funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and managed in cooperation with the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association.

For more information contact:
Dr. Rob Brison (via Deb Emerton),
The Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting,
Department of Emergency Medicine, Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario K7L 2V7
Tel: (613) 548-2389 Fax (613) 548-1381
Email: CAIR@kgh.kari.net www.CAIR.ca