Agricultural Work Activities Reported for Children and Youth on 498 North American Farms

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Berg, Richard L.;
  • Marlenga, Barbara L.;
  • Pickett, William


Children are at high risk for agricultural injury, yet there is little documentation about the range of farm work that children perform or the ages at which children experience these work exposures. The purpose of this study was to identify the scope of agricultural jobs performed by farm children and to describe variations in work involvement within demographic subgroups. A descriptive analysis was conducted of baseline data collected by telephone interview during a multi-site randomized controlled trial. The study population consisted of 1,138 children from 498 North American farms. A total of 2,389 jobs were reported for the 1,138 children. The leading categories of work were animal care, crop management, and tractor with implement operation. Regional differences were observed, consistent with variations in commodities. Substantial proportions of children were assigned to farm work even in the youngest age group of 7-9 years. Males were differentially assigned to tractor with implement operations, while females were more often assigned to animal care. This study provides one of the first systematic accounts of farm work performed by North American children. This analysis of work exposures provides information from which known prevention priorities can be reinforced and new opportunities for prevention identified.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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