According to a recent report published in the journal Pediatrics, child injuries on American farms cost nearly $1.5 billion a year. While the vast majority of these injuries were not fatal, the costs associated them is significant, placing the recent Department of Labor decision to update child labor laws in a new light.
The study, which used data from the 2001-2006 Childhood Agricultural Injury Surveys, found that, “The cost of youth agricultural injury is substantial, comparable to the costs of more frequently discussed risks such as unintentional child poisoning.”
In 2001, for example, 14 percent of child or adolescent injuries on a farm required hospitalization, compared to about 1.4 percent of the nation’s overall child injuries. This discrepancy is hardly surprising given the nature of farm equipment, which is both powerful and dangerous.
The report seems to back up a recent decision by the Department of Labor to update child labor laws for farms. The labor reform, which is currently being reconsidered by the Labor Department, would have significantly restricted the kinds of farm work children under the age of 16 could do, including limiting their ability to operate powered machinery, work in silos, or work with animals.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer