While farming may be largely forgotten in the outskirts of an American Dream, farmers are still very much alive and well across the nation. And no farm would be complete without the family unit; a cohesive collection of babies, toddlers, moms, dads, grandpas, grandmas and young teens all playing a small or large part in the success of the farm. Unfortunately, this also comes with a share of frightening dangers that are largely ignored. According to Pediatrics, nearly 30,000 farming and ranching children are injured in the United States each year at a cost of roughly $1.5 billion.
Perhaps, we might argue, these are the inevitable realities of young people driving tractors, herding cattle, and stretching barbed-wire fences. Unfortunately, less than 1/3 of the reported injuries were said to be ‘work related’. In other words, most of the problems stem from simply having children on a farm where dangerous machines are much more accessible than they are on, say, a New York City loft.
The researchers warn parents of farm children to be slightly more cautious about pushing their children to use machinery and tools that they aren’t quite physically or psychologically ready to handle. Yes, farms create a sense of work ethic and responsibility that is almost unmatched in other areas of life. However, the dangers warrant some added precautions for parents who might otherwise urge their children to take on tasks that they probably should wait one or two more years to begin.
Many injuries can be preventable if care is taken to heed the warnings of research. This isn’t to suggest that drastic changes are required from the farming and ranching community. Just a growing awareness of the dangers and costs that come from pushing children too quickly.
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