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Rural Farm Safety

Unfortunately, young children face a serious risk of being injured when they are playing or involved near a farm. Rural areas, unfortunately, already have higher injury fatality rates than urban areas. The quieter environment of rural locations often gives parents and children a false sense of security about the risks faced regarding injury or death.

While a farm could be home to life-changing injuries or fatalities, it does not have to be. Proper awareness of the dangers of farms, whether children live on one or are just visiting, is extremely important. Being mindful and taking all precautions to limit injuries can help make farms a productive and safe place for everyone.

The disparity between urban and rural areas with regard to fatal injuries has to do with behavioral, environmental and occupational factors. The higher incidents of motor vehicle crashes throughout rural areas could be the result of traffic signs that are harder to see, fewer traffic lights in general and narrower lanes. In many cases the ability to travel on longer stretches of road at higher speeds can also make it more difficult to adapt to an accident risk quickly.

Rural areas are also home to some of the most problematic occupations such as mining, agriculture and construction. Research from the American Journal of Public Health indicates that world fatality rates are twice as high as urban rates for most injuries including car accident injuries, drowning, unintentional firearm injuries, fires, traumatic occupational injuries, electrocutions as well as suicide. The leading causes of fatal injuries for youth across the United States on farms include:

  • 16% are associated with drowning
  • Nearly 20% are linked to motor vehicles including cars and ATVs
  • 23% are due to machinery

There are various different factors that need to be explored in order to prevent and reduce the number of agricultural injury and rural death. These include;

  • The ability to directly transport a rural injury victim to a trauma center
  • The increased availability of rehabilitation opportunities for rural residents
  • Advanced life support training in the form of emergency personnel that are easily accessible
  • The implementation and design of prevention measures that attend to the unique concerns of rural areas such as the longer distances between homes and the more common presence of open bodies of water

All of these issues can help to raise awareness for children as well as adults about the risk of agricultural injuries. As of data reported in 2006, more than 1 million youth lived on farms with the highest concentrations being in the mid-west and in the south. According to research completed by the United States Department of Agriculture during that same year:

  • More than half of all household youth performed chores or worked on the farm regularly
  • An additional 300,000 plus youth were hired in order to do work on U.S. farms as well
  • The majority of all household youth injuries were associated with falls making up 48% in total.
  • Nearly half of all the injuries that affected children involved those between the ages of 10 and 15.

ATVs were the most common vehicles involved in a household youth injury. Approximately one-third of farm households that had children younger than 8 reported having a fenced off enclosed play area, as of 2006. Between the years of 1995 and 2002, nearly 1000 youth died on U.S. farms and the majority of fatalities affected young adults between the ages of 16 and 19. All of the safety issues associated with the dangers of living or working on a farm should prompt parents to do everything possible to take necessary steps to prevent their children from suffering life changing injuries.

If a farming accident happened because of a premises liability problem or someone else's negligence, the injured party or the family members of a fatally-injured victim may be entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit with the help of a New York personal injury attorney.

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