work, the report refers to activities that contribute to the production of a marketable product, good, or service, whether that activity is done for pay or not. This definition of work includes tasks performed in family businesses and on family farms, even when those enterprises are not covered under current U.S. child labor laws. The study does not cover children who are not working: Children may be injured, and even killed, as visitors or bystanders in workplaces, but unless the children are actually engaged in work, incidents that befall them simply by virtue of their proximity to a workplace are not covered. This is not to say that structural factors in the work-place, such as the provision of child care, might not decrease such incidents. Also excluded from this report's definition of work or labor are nonmarket tasks done solely within the family, such as household chores, mowing the lawn, or babysitting for a sibling. This type of informal work within the family is seldom characterized as employment, and so, little information has been collected on it.

Children and adolescents engaged in illegal activities—such as pornography, prostitution, or illegal drug sales—receive very little coverage in this report. Although young people are employed in such activities, their illegality makes gathering information about them difficult; hence, little is known about the extent to which children are involved. The overall estimates of hazards in the workplace reported in this volume are likely to be underestimates because of this exclusion.

With respect to the consequences of child labor, the committee understands the term health in a broad sense, encompassing not only physical health and well-being, but also social, psychological, and educational health and well-being. Thus, this report examines not only physical injuries or illnesses that result from working, but also the effects, both positive and negative, that various types and amounts of work may have on such things as educational attainment, self-esteem, independence, and interaction with peers.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Various social and economic forces have led to changes in the amount of time spent by children and adolescents in school and at work in the United States. For much of the nation's history, school and work were mutually exclusive activities. In the late 1700s, it was not unusual for children as young as 7 or 8 to be placed outside



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement