March 14 , 2012
According to the Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting program, from 1990 to 2005 there were 217 agricultural-related fatalities among children and youth who were 14 or younger. Approximately 45 per cent were under the age of five.
Being run over by a machine (42 per cent) or drowning (15 per cent) were the two most common causes of fatality among children, following by machine roll-overs (11 per cent), animal-related injuries (seven per cent), and being caught in or under a non-machine object (five per cent).
As the designated lead trauma hospital for the southwestern Ontario region, London Health Sciences Centre plays a leadership role in the specialized care of moderately and severely injured adults and children, including farming injuries. LHSC's Trauma Program coordinates services to meet regional needs and participates in local, provincial and national programs related to education, research and injury prevention.
The Canada Safety Council encourages all Canadian farming families to ensure the safety of children on the farm and identifies several ways in which a farm can be made a child-safe environment.
- Inspect your farm for hazards that could lead to injury. Involve your children in the inspection and explain the potential hazards.
- Give older children age-appropriate tasks. Remember they are children – not small adults.
- Make sure children receive and understand safety training before each activity.
- Never allow extra riders on any equipment!
- Check your provincial laws to learn the legal age for operating farm machinery.
- Keep work areas neat and clean and machinery in good repair.
- Make grain bins and work areas off-limits to children. It takes only two or three seconds to become helplessly trapped in flowing grain.
- Keep children away from farm chemicals. Store the chemicals in a cabinet, room or building that can be locked.
- Keep children away from animals, especially in livestock-handling areas. A calm animal can become dangerous if it or its offspring feel threatened.
- Often the victims of drownings on the farm are less than six years old. Fence farm ponds and manure pits, or any other source of water that could be hazardous to children.
Source: Canada Safety Council