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March 11, 2013
March 10-16 marks Canadian Agriculture Safety Week, and to help address the growing concern of children being injured on farms, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) has prepared a list of safety tips to help ensure rural children are kept safe.
Over the past ten years, 172 children under the age of 15 have been killed in agricultural related injuries and almost 2,000 children were hospitalized for treatment of these types of injuries.
As the designated Lead Trauma Hospital (LTH) for the Southwestern Ontario region, LHSC plays a leadership role in the specialized care of injured adults and children, including those suffering from farming injuries. The program coordinates services to meet regional needs and participates in local, provincial and national programs related to education, research and injury prevention.
Children raised on farms live in a workplace that exposes them to heavy machinery, dangerous chemicals, livestock and other hazards. There are a number of simple steps that can be taken on and around the farm to minimize risk to children:
• Injuries can be prevented by having a designated play area in the farmyard. The play area should be separate from traffic and work areas, should be easily identified, with fences if possible and should be free of dangerous debris, with enough room to run and explore.
• Children repeat what they see, it is important to always use safe choices when working. Be a good role model.
• Set appropriate rules for children to follow and supervise the children with chores/farm tasks. The North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks can help answer questions that parents often have regarding the role of their child in agricultural.
• More children are killed or injured on the farm due to machinery than any other cause. Never let children ride on farm tractors, and make sure they are well away from the work area.
• Most tractors are built for one person and don’t have a safe place for a passenger. Place “No Riders” stickers on farm equipment. Turn off and remove keys from machinery, tools and other equipment when not in use.
• Livestock can be dangerous. Keep children away from animals, especially in livestock-handling areas and only have children do tasks that they are developmentally able to do.
For further information on LHSC’s Trauma program: http://www.lhsc.on.ca/About_Us/Trauma/
For further information on the Canadian Agricultural Safety Week:
Agricultural Safety Audit Program, Farm Safety Association
Childhood Agricultural Safety Network: www.childagsafety.org
Farm Safety 4-Just Kids: www.fs4jk.org/
North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks: www.nagcat.org/
Ontario Federation of Agriculture: www.ofa.on.ca
Safe Kids Canada: www.safekidscanada.ca
SmartRisk Canada: www.smartrisk.ca