Farming Dangers For Children 12 and Under

Posted by robyn

With prices plummeting for wheat, dairy, and other products, farms are struggling. This intense financial pressure makes it necessary for the entire family to help on the farm. This is just to survive. However, farm safety groups say that children should be at least 14 to drive tractors and 16 before they take the controls of skid steers or A.T.V.s. But the federal government has largely ceded safety decisions to families, saying that children of any age “may work at any time in any job” on their parents’ farms. However, Farm safety advocates point to a litany of cases that saddle families with guilt and ruinous bills and yoke their children with years of injury and painful recovery.

Machine Farming Dangers

The leading cause of child fatalities on a farm is machinery. Over 25% of the time, this was the case. Motor vehicles, including ATVs, came in second. Teenagers are one of the highest groups of children at risk on a farm. This is because it is legal to use any farming equipment. This includes tractors, which are responsible for the most farming injuries.

When a tractor rolls over, the chance of injury and even death is very high. New tractors must have rollover protective structures (ROPS). ROPS provides a protective space to prevent the tractor from crushing a worker. However, the seatbelt must be worn. Without it, a farm worker can easily fall out of the seat. Then, the tractor or ROPs can crush him or her.

Farm Accidents Kill 300 Kids per Year

On family-operated farms, children as young as 5 grow up in the driver’s seat of machines many times their size. This work is a family legacy that brings pride but also injures thousands. Research says more than 300,000 farmers in the United States are under age 18. Farm accidents claim up to 300 under age 12 lives per year, according to the USDL. Also, more than 26,000 are injured. In fact, injury rates for children aged under 12 have increased in the past few years. Plus, these rates may be conservative considering the true number could be higher. This is because there are few standards on how to report and tally injury statistics.

Not Your Fault

Remember, you don’t have to use farm equipment negligently for it to malfunction. Farm equipment malfunctions occur because companies don’t design safe machinery.  Manufacturers often fail to warn you of all the ways you can be injured while using these heavy, complex machines.

When farmers are injured by unsafe farm machinery without adequate warnings for secure operation, it is equipment is considered “defective”. This term that applies to poor design, improper manufacturing, negligent marketing, or all three.

Consequently, if you are an injured farm worker, if one of your family members has been injured or died working on a farm, or if you have lost wages due to injury, you may be entitled to compensation.