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Pediatric farm injuries involving non-working children injured by a farm work hazard: five priorities for primary prevention
  1. W Pickett1,
  2. R J Brison1,
  3. R L Berg2,
  4. J Zentner3,
  5. J Linneman2,
  6. B Marlenga3
  1. 1Department of Emergency Medicine and Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Department of Biostatistics, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wisconsin, USA
  3. 3National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wisconsin, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Barbara Marlenga
 National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, 1000 North Oak Avenue, Marshfield, WI 54449, USA;


Objectives: To describe pediatric farm injuries experienced by children who were not engaged in farm work, but were injured by a farm work hazard and to identify priorities for primary prevention.

Design: Secondary analysis of data from a novel evaluation of an injury control resource using a retrospective case series.

Data sources: Fatal, hospitalized, and restricted activity farm injuries from Canada and the United States.

Subjects: Three hundred and seventy known non-work childhood injuries from a larger case series of 934 injury events covering the full spectrum of pediatric farm injuries.

Methods: Recurrent injury patterns were described by child demographics, external cause of injury, and associated child activities. Factors contributing to pediatric farm injury were described. New priorities for primary prevention were identified.

Results: The children involved were mainly resident members of farm families and 233/370 (63.0%) of the children were under the age of 7 years. Leading mechanisms of injury varied by data source but included: bystander and passenger runovers (fatalities); drowning (fatalities); machinery entanglements (hospitalizations); falls from heights (hospitalizations); and animal trauma (hospitalizations, restricted activity injuries). Common activities leading to injury included playing in the worksite (all data sources); being a bystander to or extra rider on farm machinery (all data sources); recreational horseback riding (restricted activity injuries). Five priorities for prevention programs are proposed.

Conclusions: Substantial proportions of pediatric farm injuries are experienced by children who are not engaged in farm work. These injuries occur because farm children are often exposed to an occupational worksite with known hazards. Study findings could lead to more refined and focused pediatric farm injury prevention initiatives.

  • agriculture
  • farm
  • pediatric farm injuries

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