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Cultivate safety

CHERYL TEVIS 09/10/2013 @ 11:12am Cheryl has been an editor at Successful Farming since 1979.

More than 100 children die in farm-related incidents each year, and nearly 16,000 suffer serious injuries annually. Beyond these cold statistics are real families.

The death of a child is regarded as one of life’s most stressful events. No family that’s experienced such a loss will ever be the same again.

The following four recent incidents are typical: 

  • A 16-year-old boy is pinned after his tractor overturns in a roadside ditch.
  • A 6-year-old boy is killed after he falls off a tractor driven by his father.
  • A 3-year-old boy dies after the metal gates he was climbing on fall on him.
  • A 12-year-old boy is injured when he falls off a tractor driven by his 14-year-old brother.

The victims usually are boys, and they’re often with their dads. 

Incidents also involve older boys who may be operating a tractor at the same age that their dads began driving, despite recent research showing that their field of vision is limited compared with adults.

As National Farm Safety and Health Week approaches (September 15-20), the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety has launched a national public health campaign called Cultivate Safety. It provides parents with resources and information. 

Josh Meissner, a Chili, Wisconsin, dairy farmer and father of three, is one of the farmers participating in this multimedia campaign. He’s pictured in the brochure above, on the right. 

“The message puts things into perspective,” he says. “No matter how important the farm is to our way of life, it’s never worth the life of a child.”

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