Bury a farming tradition by keeping children away from tractors, urges Safe Kids Canada

    TORONTO, March 10 /CNW/ - Safe Kids Canada is launching the Ontario
Children's Rural Safety Program to address the alarming frequency of injuries
and deaths among children living on Canadian farms. Every year, nearly 20
children die in agricultural related incidents and 100 more are hospitalized
with serious injuries, raising serious questions about dangers of introducing
children to farming tasks at an early age. Incidents involving tractors form
the largest percentage of injuries and fatalities on farms.
    Sadly, in many cases where children end up under the tractor's tires,
they started off on top, enjoying a fun tractor ride with a parent or
grandparent. It's a farm-family tradition to introduce youngsters to the joys
of riding along on a powerful tractor but it only takes a second for a child
to slip and fall and it all happens much too quickly for the tractor operator
to stop.
    Awareness and prevention are the keys to reducing tractor-related
injuries among children. "Most of these tractor accidents can easily be
prevented," says Pamela Fuselli, interim executive director at Safe Kids
Canada. "The key is keeping children and tractors separate because a 75-pound
child doesn't have much chance against a 10,000-pound tractor."
    Other children who are hurt or killed by tractors were bystanders. They
might have been playing nearby or watching someone work on the tractor.
Because young children are easily distracted and can't reliably estimate how
quickly the tractor is approaching them, they'll sometimes dart in front of a
moving tractor or step behind one, not realizing it's about to back up.
    While safety recommendations may challenge many long-held customs within
farming families, they do prevent and reduce the incidence of injuries to
children. "It's time to bury the tradition of giving kids rides on tractors
before we bury another child," concludes Fuselli.
    Safe Kids Canada recommends the following tips to prevent tractor-related
injuries among children:

    -   No extra riders! Never take a child for a ride with you on a tractor
        or allow them to operate a tractor on their own.

    -   Supervision around tractors is critical. When young children are
        present, an adult who is not distracted by work should be watching
        them at all times.

    -   Tractors are not toys. Children should not be playing on tractors,
        even when they are turned off.

    -   Provide fenced, secure play areas away from where the tractor is
        being operated.

    -   Double-check before backing up and be aware of your tractor's blind

    -   Park the tractor on flat ground if possible and be sure to set the
        brakes, lower implements to the ground, chock the wheels and remove
        the keys. Then if children forget the "no playing on the tractor"
        rule, their risk of injury will be reduced.

    -   These incidents are most likely to happen when parents are busy,
        stressed and tired. Take extra care during these times to follow
        safety precautions and arrange for appropriate care for children so
        they are away from the work area.

    The Ontario Children's Rural Safety Program is a program of Safe Kids
Canada, with generous support provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health

    Safe Kids Canada is the national injury prevention program of The
Hospital for Sick Children. It is a national leader in educating parents and
promoting effective strategies to prevent unintentional injuries and deaths of
children. For more information about Safe Kids Canada, please visit
www.safekidscanada.ca or call 1-888-SAFE-TIPS (723-3847).

For further information:

For further information: Lisa Lipkin, Public Affairs, The Hospital of
Sick Children, Tel: (416) 813-6380

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