The National Centre for Farmer Health and Deakin University are conducting a study to investigate the way behaviours, attitudes and lifestyles on Victorian farms are contributing to farm-related injuries in children.
For the past 20 years, the injury rate of Australian farming children has refused to come down, despite ongoing safety campaigns and horror stories of injuries and fatalities.
The problem is now the target of a major research project – that is missing just one thing.
The voice of farm children.
The National Centre for Farmer Health researcher and Deakin University Ph.D. candidate Jessie Adams needs rural Victorian children aged 5-14 years – and their parents.
“Everyone should be concerned about the injury rate not shifting after all this time – particularly as these injuries can be largely preventable,” Jessie said.
“There is a romantic view that farms are healthy, safe places for children to grow and develop,” she added.
“Which they can be, they should be, but they must also be seen as what they really are – work environments with hazards and dangers that are not seen in urban Australia”.
“By investigating the common behaviours, attitudes and lifestyles on Victorian farms we will be able to come up with a tangible assessment of what might be causing these problems.”
Participation in the research closes on March 31st and the more children engaging in the study, the more relevant the findings and recommendations will be.
Jessie said participation in this research can be done from the comfort of your own home/farm and does not require any travel or extensive time commitments.
“We know being involved in the daily work schedule of the family farm is also an accepted part of life in rural Australia – and always has been,” Jessie explained.
“But Australian research is yet to understand children’s exposure to occupational hazards, their risk-taking behaviours or to what extent common safety measures are being used on farms,” she said.
“This study will give us important insights into the context of children’s experiences on Victorian farms and help develop targeted ways to prevent fatal and non-fatal child injuries.”
Jessie said the project needed children in that 5-14 age range, who live on a farm or have visited one at least twice in the past 12 months, as well as their parents.
Participating will involve the completion of an online survey, the first half for parents while children will fill in the second section.
“The contributions of parents and children will be essential – and invaluable – in assisting to reduce child farm-related injuries.”
To find out more information and access the survey please visit: https://farmerhealth.org.au/injury-risk-and-safety-behaviours-of-children-on-victorian-farms