Child & Youth Farm Safety

A harvest crew works quickly to contain a fire hazard from a malfunctioning combine in the Palouse area of Washington

Every 3 days, a child dies in an agriculture-related incident

newspaper clippings“Two-year-old Idaho boy dies after run over by tractor”

Idaho State Journal

“Passenger fatally injured when the UTV operated by a 17 y/o male rolled over”

SalemNews.com

News stories such as these are too common. Rural America is a great place to grow up, but it has its inherent dangers. That is especially true in a farming community where hazards a present in daily life. Research is pointing to three groups where we can save lives and prevent injuries:

  • Children and youth living on the farm
  • Youth hired for farm work
  • Children and youth visitors (family, friends, and agro-tourism)

There are many jobs on the farm that children and youth can perform safely. The updated Youth Work Guidelines available from the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety is a practical tool for parents to use in assessing child readiness. For younger children, parents should designate a safe play area separate from the worksite and supervise their activities. See Creating Safe Play Areas on Farms available from the Marshfield Clinic.

Girl with Tractor

PNASH surveys Latino family farmers

The Latino workforce is essential to our Northwest agricultural communities, yet there are few Spanish language resources for families about children's farm safety. To understand our local needs, Maria Tchong-French led a small voting-booth survey in Spanish at Ag Safety Day in Wenatchee. Results showed that operating a lawn mower was the most common task for adolescent workers. The top two areas of interest were chemical safety and building safe play areas. We hope to find other opportunities to conduct the voting-booth activity and further understand Latino family farm needs. For questions, please email or call (800) 330-0827.

CONTACT US

How can you help?

In addition to the actions you can take on your own farm, for kids working on the farm and visiting, you can champion farm safety through your community and networks. See the resources and organizations below to share information and get involved.

Recommended safety resources

Resources for children

Please review the resources below, take the trainings offered, and share this information with others. Your actions could help save a life.

Cultivate Safety - A one-stop resource for children safety information, including:

  • Child Agricultural Safety Brochure
  • 2019 Child Agricultural Injury Fact Sheet
  • Safety Guidelines for Hired Adolescent Workers (English and Spanish)
  • Safe Play Areas (English and Spanish)
  • A Guide to Help Dairy Workers (English and Spanish)

National Ag Safety Database - Child Safety Materials

Aunque Cerca, Sano - Una guía de prevencíon de los riesgos de pesticidas (Spanish)

Keeping Pesticides on the Farm - Online Course

Resources for hired youth or teen workers

Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines - Easy to use safety information about age-appropriate farm activities

Ag in the Classroom Curriculum - Health and Safety Awareness for Working Teens in Agriculture

Basic tractor operations (English and Spanish)

Working with Utility Vehicles (English and Spanish)

Injured Young Workers Speakers Program - “Matt Pomerinke of Longview, Washington was just 21 and working at a lumber mill when his arm was caught in an unguarded conveyor drive chain and ultimately amputated just below the elbow” Learn more

Regional Ag News

AgInjuryNews.org - Sign-up to receive custom email alerts / or help track cases about agriculture-related incidents reported in your region to help spread the word about injury prevention. Learn more

Essential organizations

You can get involved in local and national youth safety promotion and education.

National Children’s Center for Rural and Ag Health and Safety
The National Children’s Center leads the country in protecting working and non-working farm youth through research, outreach, and prevention. Learn more

Progressive Agriculture
This educational program provides training and resources for local communities to conduct one-day safety and health programs called Safety Days. These programs are designed to be age-appropriate, hands-on, fun, and safe for children. Champions for Northwest community events are needed! Learn more

Children’s Agricultural Safety Network
The Childhood Agricultural Safety Network (CASN) is a coalition of organizations that keeps children safe on the farm. Visit their website to find educational materials and webinars. Learn more