The North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks is a helpful resource for parents, grandparents, and caregivers.
“In Alberta between 1990 and 2013, there was a total of 75 agricultural-related fatalities of children under the age of 15 — this is an average of three deaths per year,” said Janice Donkers, provincial farm safety youth co-ordinator.
Similar U.S. statistics prompted the creation of the booklet to help parents and caregivers assess their child’s readiness.
“The guidelines focus on youth aged seven to 16 and contains decision-making information for common farm chores,” said Donkers.
Since every child grows and develops differently, age and physical size are not the best indicators of readiness when it comes to performing agricultural work. Each task has a flow chart to follow, with an explanation on why the timing may not be right for a child to take on a particular task.
“Tasks are clearly identified and include a description of the main hazards and required safety gear. There are lists for the adult responsibilities and for determining the right amount of supervision.”
Adequate training in age-appropriate tasks, paired with the right level of supervision is key to preventing injuries.
The booklet is popular because of how the information is presented and also because it was developed with extensive input from farm parents and teens, along with injury prevention professionals, said Donkers.
To get a copy of the North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks, email [email protected]. There is also an interactive website for the program at Cultivate Safety.