related fatalities among children and adolescents comes from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which shows 108 deaths of children younger than 18 in agriculture for the years 1992 through 1995. Although only about 8 percent of all young workers are employed in agriculture, 40 percent of the work-related deaths of children and adolescents under the age of 18 during that period occurred in agriculture (Derstine, 1996).

A 1993 report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimated that children aged 10 and older suffered nearly 13,000 agricultural work-related injuries that resulted in lost worktime (Myers, 1995). Of these injuries, nearly two-thirds occurred during the months of June, July, and August, when children would typically be out of school and available to work. It is estimated that each year more than 100,000 children suffer preventable injuries associated with agriculture (T. Miller, 1995); this figure includes children who are residents, visitors to farms, and active laborers.


Studies regarding children's work in agriculture reveal a variety of specific tasks and chores performed by children, beginning at very young ages (Aherin and Todd, 1989; Hawk et al., 1991; Tevis and Finck, 1989). Children's work on farms ranges from gathering eggs by the age of 5 to operating a pickup truck before the age of 11 (Tevis, 1994). Males perform nearly all tasks at a younger age than females. Some work is relatively low risk (e.g., carrying a feed bucket), but many tasks carry the risk of serious injury (e.g., feeding pigs, hauling manure, applying pesticides). Children who are working in the fields may be near or in the way of machinery, including tractors and trucks; they may fall off ladders while picking fruit; they may get dizzy from dehydration because they do not have access to drinking water. Studies show that the most common agents of minor injury to children are animals and falls, while the most common agents of serious injury are tractors and moving machinery (Purschwitz, 1990; Rivara, 1997; Stallones and Gunderson, 1994).

Other conditions that pose risks to children are poor sanitary facilities, inadequate housing, long hours in the fields, and heavy lifting and carrying of produce. Furthermore, there is concern for both the acute and long-term effects that might result from workers'

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