Tractors are responsible for 41% of fatal accidents for kids under the age of 15 on farms, yet 4 out of 5 kids raised on farms regularly ride on tractors with family members. Source: Childhood Agricultural Safety Network.

There are approximately two million farms in the U.S. There are also approximately 900,000 kids who live on farms, and more than half (51%) work on the farms where they live. Farms annually hire an additional 265,000 youth workers.  Farms, however, are a dangerous place for kids to work and play, because of the high risk of injury from off-road vehicles, machinery and livestock.

The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety recently released a report card for farm deaths and injuries of kids that live and work on farms in the U.S.  While the number of fatalities and injuries to farm kids, and hired youth workers are declining, safety is still something that farm owners and managers need to give careful, regular consideration.

The following are excerpts from the 2017 Fact Sheet on Childhood Agricultural Injuries in the U.S.


  • Every three days, a child dies in an agriculture-related incident.
  • Of the leading sources of fatalities among all youth, 25% involved machinery,17% involved motor vehicles (includes ATVs), and 16% were drownings.
  • For working youth, tractors were the leading source of fatalities, followed by ATVs.


  • Every day, about 33 children are injured in agriculture-related incidents.
  • In 2014, an estimated 7,469 youth were injured on farms where they live, and 60% of them were not working when the injury occurred.
  • An estimated 738 hired youth were injured on farms in 2014.
  • Approximately 3,735 visiting youth were injured on farms in 2014.
  • Vehicles were the leading source of injury for household working youth.
  • Animals were the leading source of injury for both household non-working youth and visitors.

Injury trends

  • While overall numbers of farm injuries are declining, injuries to kids who live on farms have held steady.
  • Among kids who live on farms, injury rates increased in 2014 for youth 10-19 years.
  • From 2003 to 2010, among workers younger than 16 years, the number of worker fatalities in agriculture was consistently higher than in all non-agricultural industries combined.

Red line is all youth injuries on farms. Green line kids injured who live on farms. Source: Childhood Agricultural Safety Network.

This summary report has some shocking statistics.  While farms are great places to raise kids with a strong work ethic, a love of the land and livestock, and a love for food production, there is also significant danger of injury and accidental death.  It is important that every farm owner and manager provide both safety instruction and supervision of kids with farm equipment, livestock or other hazards.  Kids love riding on tractors, ATVs, horses, and other livestock but these can be very dangerous dangerous, especially without supervision.
While every dad or grandad wants to share their love of farming, it is important to ensure that you create the safest environment possible for kids.  Think about the dangers, if the unexpected happens.  Make time for kids that is separate from work time.  Set ground rules to prevent equipment and vehicle use without adult supervision.  Make extra time for safety training for youth workers, and follow that with additional observation to ensure safe operation.  Nobody wants to make that 911 call, and the call that follows to a kid’s Mom to tell her her son or daughter has been injured, or even worse, killed in a farm accident.

Source:  2017 Fact Sheet on Childhood Agricultural Injuries in the U.S.

Doug Mayo
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