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Extra riders on tractors are a high risk for fatality

AMES – The National Children’s Center estimates one child dies about every three days in an agriculture-related incident. One common incident where children are harmed is when they are an extra rider on a farm or lawn care tractor.

“Tractor rides have an intrinsic appeal for kids and a willingness for adults to allow them,” said Charles Schwab, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering with extension and outreach responsibilities at Iowa State University. “The well-intended activity of a child riding on the tractor with a parent or grandparent is an extremely dangerous situation that too often ends in death.”

Around one-fourth of tractor deaths each year are from runovers. These usually happen when an extra rider falls under the back tractor wheel and is mortally crushed. An easy saying to remember is: “One seat, one rider,” and as adults it is our responsibility to keep youth safe by not allowing them to be the extra rider on tractors. Be firm and say no.

Marilyn Adams, president and founder of Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, wrote a poem about youth safety and several lines of that poem are directly related to extra-riders. She penned:

“I am the kid who did not beg for a ride on the tractor.
Not being an extra rider kept me safe, I know that was a factor.
I am the kid you told to stick to my beliefs and be brave.
Yes, I am the kid whose life you did save.”

This week is National Farm Safety and Health Week. This year’s national theme is “Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear.” During this week, the fall harvest and the year to come, please persuade others to keep children safe by not allowing extra riders on tractors.

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