South Dakota event focuses on tractor safety
ABERDEEN, S.D. - Tractor safety is the focus of this year's National Farm Safety and Health Week, which runs through Saturday. A child dies from injuries on a farm once every 3 1/2 days, according to the Childhood Agricultural Safety Network, and...
ABERDEEN, S.D. - Tractor safety is the focus of this year's National Farm Safety and Health Week, which runs through Saturday.
A child dies from injuries on a farm once every 3 ½ days, according to the Childhood Agricultural Safety Network, and the group says the biggest cause is tractors.
The slogan for the 64th annual National Farm Safety and Health Week is: "It's easier to bury a tradition than a child," referring to the practice of letting children ride on tractors with an adult.
Children younger than 12 should not be on or near tractors, according to the network, a nationwide coalition of groups committed to reducing child injuries and fatalities.
The new group acknowledges its message might not be popular with many farm families because having children ride on tractors with adults often is considered a tradition.
But the Childhood Agricultural Safety Network says on its Web site that more than 100 children are killed and 26,000 are seriously hurt in farm-related accidents each year in the United States. Publicity for the event indicates tractors are responsible for 40 percent of the accidental farm deaths of children younger than 15.
Adam Franken, Groton High School FFA adviser, said he and his students bring a tractor to the elementary school every year during FFA Week to highlight tractor safety. The presentation focuses more on being careful around tractors than forbidding children from riding them, Franken said.
But safety is paramount on the farm, he said, adding that riding on tractors can be dangerous for children because there's no extra seat - and especially dangerous if there's no cab.
The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety says most child farm-related deaths between 1995 and 2000 were due to machinery (25 percent), motor vehicles (17 percent) and drowning (16 percent).
- Associated Press