Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2010

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Children Face Increased Injury Risks in Rural Areas

Safe Kids Kansas provides tips to keep kids safer for National Farm Safety & Health Week

Safe Kids Kansas makes rural injury prevention a top priority during National Farm Safety & Health Week, September 19-25. In Kansas, approximately 158,598 children live in rural areas and these kids are at greater risk of unintentional injury-related death than children living in urban areas.

The environment on a farm allows a child to be exposed to an array of hazards. Each year in the United States approximately 70 children ages 14 and under die from injuries occurring on a farm. Children ages six to 12 are more likely to sustain injuries from farm equipment due to attempting farm tasks that are not age-appropriate.  Tractors, large animals and falls are the primary cause for injuries on the farm for children ages six and under.

“Kids need to be supervised while doing farm work,” says Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas. “Kids should not try to do the work of an adult. It takes physical strength and development, as well as mature judgment, to operate mechanical farm equipment safely.”

Safe Kids Kansas recommends that children under 16 never drive or ride ATVs (including youth-sized ATVs), snowmobiles or tractors. Mowers, tractors and minibikes that are built to only hold one person and should never carry additional passengers of any age.

No matter how shallow, children should also be supervised near irrigation ditches, ponds and other bodies of water. “A small child can drown in just a few inches of water,” says Sage. “In reality, drowning doesn’t happen like it does in the movies. A drowning child usually cannot cry or call for help—it happens quickly and silently.”

Motor vehicle traffic incidents are the number one cause of injury fatality for children ages one to 14. Almost half of all fatal crashes occur in rural areas. “Never, ever let a child ride in the bed of a pickup truck,” says Sage. “In a crash, the child would almost certainly be ejected and killed or suffer a permanent, life-changing injury.” Kansas also prohibits children under age 14 from riding in any part of the vehicle not intended for passengers, including in the bed of a pickup truck.

Safe Kids Kansas recommends parents keep these safety tips in mind:

National Farm Safety & Health Week is a program of the National Safety Council’s National Education Center for Agricultural Safety: http://www.necasag.org/. For more information about child safety, call 785-296-1223 or visit www.usa.safekids.org.

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of over 70 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14.   Local coalitions and chapters cover Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Butler, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Geary, Harvey, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Pottawatomie, Riley, Saline, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Smith, Sumner, and Wilson counties, as well as the city of  Emporia and the Metro Kansas City Area (Wyandotte county and several Missouri counties.)  Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Visit us at www.safekidskansas.org and on Facebook.