Objective: To describe the types of and circumstances surrounding unintentional farm-related fatal injuries involving children aged less than 15 years in Australia.
Methods: Information concerning 115 deaths were obtained from inspection of coronial files for the period 1989-92.
Results: Children less than 15 years made up 20% of all unintentional farm-related fatalities in Australia, with children less than 5 years representing 63% of all child fatalities. The majority of children were fatally injured while bystanders to farm work and equipment used on the farm (including dams), with drowning the most common mechanism of the fatal incident for children aged both 5 years or less and 5-9 years. Vehicle accidents were common for children aged 10-14 years.
Conclusions: Children are exposed to various hazards in the farming environment and as such are at risk of being injured.
Implications: This study has highlighted a number of particular hazards for children on farms, with drowning, transport and tractor-related injuries of particular concern. A national strategy for child safety on farms has been developed by Farmsafe Australia aimed at providing a nationally co-ordinated plan for improving child safety on farms.