Kids from farming and ranching households whose parents have been injured are more than three times as likely to get hurt themselves, say researchers from the Midwest who surveyed parents in 3,765 agricultural households about:
- the type of work done at home, such as raising beef or dairy cattle or raising crops
- the number of children in the household
- any injuries that had occurred to parents or kids
Out of all households, 203 kids had experienced agricultural injuries while working or helping out on their family's farm or ranch. Kids whose fathers got hurt the year before the study took place had twice the risk of injury compared with those whose fathers were uninjured. Having a mother who'd been injured during or before the study also increased a child's risk of injury. The risk of injury was highest, though, when both parents had sustained agricultural injuries. In these families, kids had nearly four times the risk of injury of kids in families where neither parent was injured.
The study authors suggest two explanations for these findings. First, certain types of farms or ranching operations may be more dangerous, which increases the risk of injury for all family members living and working on the farm. Second, some families may take risks or fail to take safety precautions that may prevent injuries.
What This Means to You
On a farm or ranch, kids may be at risk for machinery injuries, falls, injuries from animals, or drowning. The results of this study suggest that kids whose parents have been injured have a particularly high risk of getting hurt. Kids old enough to help out with agricultural businesses should only be assigned chores that are appropriate to their physical and mental abilities and should know the proper operation and safety precautions associated with equipment or livestock. Setting a good example is also important — if your kids see you following the safety rules, they're more likely to be concerned about safety, too.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: December 2006
Source: Kathleen Ferguson Carlson, PhD; Deborah Langner, MS; Bruce H. Alexander, PhD; James G. Gurney, PhD; Susan G. Gerberich, PhD; Andrew D. Ryan, MS; Colleen M. Renier, BS; Steven J. Mongin, MS; Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, November 2006.