Quad Bike Related Deaths and Injuries Australia 2012: Media Monitors Report Australian print media provides an avenue to highlight the prevalence... [more]
Media Monitors Snapshot: January 1 to September 30, 2012 This report focuses specifically on data involving on‐farm injury... [more]
Child Safety on Farms
Farms are great places for children to grow and develop, when we create a supportive environment, but safety for children on farms is a major concern.
Priorities for Child safety on farms
Priorities for child safety on farms were developed by Farmsafe Australia, based on consultation with peak farmer groups and research of injury solutions by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety. These are for farm families to:
Have a securely fenced house yard (safe play area) for young children to play, unless an adult is available to closely supervise them on farm.
Ensure all children:
- Always wear seatbelts and restraints when in cars, utes and trucks
- Don't ride on tractors, quad bikes or in the back of utes
- Always wear helmets when riding bikes and horses
Whilst these are short-list priorities, families still need to identify and address other hazards and risks specific to their farm. Controlling these risks should commence with reducing hazards and designing for safety where possible. See below for further information and links to resources.
Child farm injury in Australia
Around 20 children under 15 years are fatally injured on an Australian farm every year and many more are hospitalised or treated by General Practitioners across rural Australia. The major causes of child deaths and injuries on farms are dams, farm vehicles, machinery, motorcycles and horses. Age and development characteristics also place children at greater risk.
A recent study of on-farm fatalities from 2001-2004 by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety found that:
Children (0-14yrs) make up 15-20% of farm injury deaths, around 66% are male.
The main agents of fatality and serious injury are:
Drowning in dams
Quad bikes (4 wheeled motorbikes)
Farm vehicles (cars, utes)
Around 25% of all child deaths were visitors to the farm, but 50% of those killed on quad bikes were visitors. Quad bikes are also the most common cause of death for children 5-14 yrs on farms
Drowning accounts for around 35-40% of all on child farm deaths, with farm dams being by far the most common site and children under five years at greatest risk.
There has been an improvement in the reduction of toddler drowning on farms in recent years – particularly a reduction of drowning in dams, which have halved since the 1990’s. However, drowning is still the number one cause of child farm fatality in Australia.
A common scenario is that a toddler wanders away from the home un-noticed into farm water bodies or toward other farm hazards (vehicles, mobile machinery). Apart from dams, children can find their way into creeks, troughs, dips and irrigation channels. Children under five years of age are at greatest risk.
For non-fatal injury of children on farms, older children (5 - 14 yrs) figure more prominently - particularly in relation to injury from 2 and 4 wheeled motorbikes (and horses). Whilst there tends to be more hospital Emergency Department presentations for 2-wheeled motorbikes, injuries from quad bikes are likely to be more severe or fatal. There are four times as many children being killed riding quad bikes than 2 wheel motorbikes on farms.
Resources - child safety on farms
The publications below were developed for farm families by ACAHS relate to key child injury risks on farm and best practice safety recommendations. For links to Farmsafe's primary and secondary school resources, move the cursor over the child safety on farms tab and take the RIPPER II or Future Farmers page links. For a list of other organisations with child farm safety resources, go to the ACAHS website at www.AgHealth.org.au