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Agricultural Injuries in Canadian Children Aged 5 to 9

Updated July 2008

Bystander runovers, extra rider runovers and drownings were the most important causes of death in young school-aged children aged five to nine years. The most frequent reasons for hospitalized injuries in this age group were falls from height, animal-related incidents, entanglements and being runover as extra riders or bystanders.

Young school-aged children comprise about 7.7% of the Canadian farm population (2001). Between 1990 and 2004, 61 children five to nine years old were killed in agricultural injury events (3.6% of all fatalities). From April 1990 to March 2000 an additional 672 children in this age group were hospitalized for agricultural injuries (4.5% of all hospitalizations). Children aged five to nine represented 29.2% of the agricultural fatalities and 35.6% of the agricultural hospitalizations in children under fifteen years old.

It is important to discourage children from playing in dangerous elevated areas like barn lofts and to ensure that they are kept well away from agricultural equipment, vehicles and machinery. Most falls from height occurred while children were playing in barn lofts. Falls from height often result in very serious injuries like skull fractures and spinal cord damage. Entanglements frequently cause permanently disabling injuries, such as amputations.

CAIR’s circumstance descriptions show that young school-aged children who were killed in extra rider runovers were typically seated on a tractor hood or fender, or were standing near the operator. Children should not be permitted to ride on tractors or other agricultural machines, even those with cabs.

Catherine Isaacs, CAIR’s National Coordinator and Data Manager, states that, “Children should not be allowed to play in elevated areas such as barn lofts without appropriate protective barriers for falls being present”.

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