Youth Agricultural Injuries a Significant Problem

More than 26,000 youth agricultural injuries occur annually, at a cost of $1.4 billion per year

MONDAY, March 12 (HealthDay News) -- In the United States, more than 26,000 youth agricultural injuries, which tend to be more severe and costly than nonagricultural injuries, occur annually, at a cost of $1.4 billion per year, according to research published online March 12 in Pediatrics.

Eduard Zaloshnja, Ph.D., of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Beltsville, Md., and colleagues used data from the Childhood Agricultural Injury Survey to measure the incidence of nonfatal injury, and Multiple Cause of Death data to estimate the incidence of fatal injury; costs for injuries suffered by youth living or working in agricultural settings were calculated.

The researchers found that, between 2001 and 2006, an average of 26,655 youth agricultural injuries occurred per year in the United States, at an estimated cost of $1.423 billion per year. While most agricultural injuries occurring in youth are not work related, work-related injuries in youth cost $347 million per year (about 24 percent of the total cost). Additionally, fatal injuries were found to cost about $420 million per year.

"We found that, similarly to adult agricultural injuries, youth agricultural injuries tend to be more severe and more costly than nonagricultural injuries. Only 1.4 percent of injured youth in the United States were hospitalized in 2000, but 14 percent of youth injured in agriculture were hospitalized in 2001 to 2006," the authors write. "To address this serious problem, prevention should focus on better controlling both child access to agricultural recreational activities and child assignment to agricultural work tasks that exceed developmental norms."

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