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Keep an eye on kids on farms this summer

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/12/2016

A leading safety watchdog is urging farmers to keep kids safe over the summer period.

More than 20 per cent of injuries to those 15 and under occur on a farm in December and January, and there were nearly 20,000 injuries to children on farms from 2003-2015.

Seven children died as a result of an accident on a farm between 2013-2015.

WorkSafe says children are essential to farming family life and it was important this tradition continued, but risks need to be assessed.

"We do not want to stop children having fun on the farm or helping out mum and dad with jobs," said WorkSafe's sector leader Agriculture Al McCone.

"Farms come with big machines, big animals and big pressures.

"Children and their parents need to be aware of the risks farms present and work to manage those risks. Managing the risks for children is different from managing them for adults."

The younger the child, the more at risk they are, he said.

Mr McCone said if you're used to working alone, and you get stuck on a job or problem, then it's easy to forget about the kids being with you or near you; half of the 14 deaths of under-10-year-olds involved the child being near the parents working.

Quad bikes were also involved in all three deaths involving children aged between five and 15 since 2013.

Mr McCone says only those trained and experienced should operate a quad bike.

"Quad bike riders under 16 years are 2.5 times more likely to be injured compared to drivers aged 16-34 years old. Although those aged under 16 years old represent just 16 per cent of users, they account for between 37-50 per cent of all injuries."

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