A campaign was announced by a farm safety group to keep children under the age of 12 off of tractors. The safety campaign was introduced by the Childhood Agricultural Safety Network. According to officials, a child is killed due to farm injuries every 3.5 days and tractors are the leading cause of these deaths. Tractors are a factor in 40% of all farm deaths for children under the age of 15, as well, according to a youth safety specialist with the National Farm Medicine Center. Many children will ride a tractor alone or with family members on a regular basis. A parent may let their infant ride along with them, or an older sibling may partake in farm work. However, parents are reminded it is very easy for a child to be thrown from a tractor, even if it doesn’t overturn. Actions such as hitting holes, sharp turns, or sudden stops can cause riders to lose their grip. A child can also be very distracting to adults driving a tractor. The risk of an accident for the adult increases if there is a child involved, according to a youth safety specialist for the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. Riding a tractor is also considered a tradition for children in rural area, although there are many accident reports including a toddler who fell of a tractor operator’s lap and was crushed. Officials urge parents to never let a child to ride on a tractor due to the high risk of injury or death.
There are many tragedies involving children and tractors. Riding in a cab is not necessarily safer. A child was killed after grabbing a handle for support when a tractor hit a bump, causing him to fall from the cab. Children must complete a safety course and reach a mature enough age before they are allowed to ride on a tractor. Children must not be allowed to drive a tractor until they turn 14 or 15, experts say. Children still don’t have the ability understand their environment, which is crucial for avoiding a potentially fatal accident. Children can’t judge speed, distance, and movement as well as other adults. Small farms are not required to report workplace injuries which involved children, so many injuries go unreported. Across the United States, 38 children are seriously hurt on farms each day in the US. Injuries involving children under the age of 10 are also on the rise. Child labor laws also don’t apply to family farms if the children working are also members of the family, according to news reports. Call our Stockton law offices for more info.