Fatal farm injuries to Canadian children

Donald C. Voaklander, Josie M. Rudolphi, Richard Berg, Colleen Drul, Kathy L. Belton, William Pickett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children on Canadian farms are at high risk for fatal injury. Ongoing surveillance of these deaths is required to affirm recurrent patterns of injury, and to determine whether historical approaches to prevention have resulted in declines in the occurrence of these traumatic events. We analyzed epidemiological patterns and trends in the occurrence of fatal pediatric farm injuries over 23 years. Records of deaths were obtained from the Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting system. To contrast more recent data with injury patterns described historically, cases were compared between two time periods. An intentional consensus process was used to finalize key patterns and their clinical or social importance. 374 fatal farm injuries to children in Canada were identified over the 23 years of study; 253 in period 1 and 121 in period 2. While machinery and non-machinery causes of death varied between the two study periods, mean annual rates of fatal injury (approximately 4 per 100,000 children) remained similar. Notably emergent types of injury in recent years included those caused by all-terrain vehicles, skid steer loaders, and drownings. Observed declines in the numbers of fatal farm injuries are most likely attributable to analogous declines in the number of registered farms in Canada. Our findings call into question the effectiveness of pediatric farm safety initiatives that primarily focus on education. Second, while CAIR fatality data are maintained, surveillance of hospitalized injuries has been disbanded and the fatality records require updating. Only by doing so will such surveillance findings provide comprehensive information to inform prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106233
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Agriculture
  • Canada
  • Child health
  • Determinants of health
  • Epidemiology
  • Farming
  • Injury
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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