Fewer youth farm injuries, death rate same

A farm safety organization says there are fewer children getting injured on farms, but the child death rates haven’t changed much.

Scott Heiberger with the National Farm Medicine Center says, “The fatal injuries are staying pretty stubborn, and it’s a little over one hundred each year.”

Heiberger says a trend for fewer injuries began in the late 1990s. “It dropped by about 60% from 1998 to about 2012 and everything we’ve seen since then indicates that that lower trend of non-fatal injuries in general, with a couple of exceptions, is still holding for us.” One of those exceptions is the number of children injured on ATVs and side-by-side vehicles.

Heiberger says families have made a lot of progress reducing injuries by assigning farm jobs based on the child’s age and ability to safely perform the task and by ending common old customs like taking passengers on tractors and riding without seat belts and helmets on ATVs. 

Heiberger says most of the deaths on the farm involve very young children. “Most of these fatal injuries occur to children who are not working. They’re under age 10 and they’re just kind of in the work site hanging out or where their parents can try to keep an eye on them.”

He says if farmers can utilize their ag youth work guidelines and keep children away from dangerous work sites, it would go a long way towards reducing fatalities.

More information can be found at

National Farm Safety & Health Week is September 18-24, 2022.

Scott Heiberger from the National Farm Medicine Center discusses youth injuries and deaths on the farm with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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