Farmsafe WA Alliance - Founded by Farmers for Farmers

An independent not-for-profit, non-government organisation encouraging and leading the way to safer farming

Child Safety

Farms are great places for kids when we create the right environment, but safety for children on farms is a major concern. On average, one child under 16 years is fatally injured on an Australian farm every fortnight - with one third of those being visitors to farms. More than 10 children are hospitalised each week due to injuries and many more are treated by General Practitioners across rural Australia. The major causes of child deaths and injuries on farms are dams, farm vehicles, machinery, motorcycles and horses. Age and development characteristics also place children at greater risk.

There has been an improvement in the reduction of toddler drowning on farms in recent years - particularly a reduction of drowning in dams, which have halved since the 1990's.  However, drowning is still the number one cause of child farm fatality in Australia.

A common scenario is that a toddler wanders away from the home un-noticed into farm water bodies or toward other farm hazards (vehicles, mobile machinery).  Apart from dams, children can find their way into creeks, troughs, dips and irrigation channels.  Children under five years of age are at greatest risk.

For non-fatal injury of children on farms, older children (5 - 14 yrs) figure more prominently - particularly in relation to injury from 2 and 4 wheeled motorbikes (and horses).  Whilst there tends to be more hospital Emergency Department presentations for 2-wheeled motorbikes, injuries from ATVs are likely to be more severe or fatal.  There are four times as many children being killed riding ATVs than 2 wheel motorbikes on farms (NFIDC, 2007).

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Key recommendations for child safety on farms are to create a securely fenced house yard for children to play and have safety rules that everyone knows and follows.These include ensuring children:

  • stay in the safe play area unless an adult can closely supervise them on the farm
  • wear seatbelts and restraints when in cars,utes and trucks
  • don't ride on tractors, ATV's or in the back of utes
  • always wear helmets when riding bikes and horses.

For more information on a wide range of child safety topics, please visit Kidsafe WA or for water safety information visit Royal Life Saving Society WA.

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Farmsafe WA Alliance Founded twenty years ago, with the voluntary work of farmers and enthusiasm of other interested bodies.


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