Farming groups launch tractor safety campaign

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TOWN OF ONALASKA, Wis. (WEAU) -- A Wisconsin based group is trying to encourage parents to keep kids under 12 off tractors.

The Childhood Agricultural Safety Network has launched its campaign, because it noticed last spring more children were injured or killed from riding on tractors.

The group's Website said each year more than 100 children are killed and 23,000 are seriously hurt from farm-related accidents nationwide.

The network said kids are often riding on tractors as extra passengers.

One farmer in the town of Onalaska said he doesn’t think there’s an age that’s too young to ride on tractors.

“If there’s a supervisor there or an adult that is knowing what they’re doing, and in control of the equipment and take care of their children well, I believe they should be just fine to ride with at any time,” said farmer Patrick McHugh.

“Many times there’s not even a seat available for them to be sitting on. They’re sitting on the fenders, they’re standing on straw bars or something like that,” agricultural youth safety specialist Marsha Salzwedel.

The network said cabs on tractors provide a false sense of security, because children can fall out after a door pops open or a windshield pops off from hitting a bump.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A coalition of farming organizations is starting a campaign to encourage parents to keep children under age 12 off of tractors after a spate of accidents in the past year.

Agricultural youth safety specialist Marsha Salzwedel said Wednesday that the Wisconsin-based Childhood Agricultural Safety Network launched the campaign after seeing numerous children killed and injured in accidents last year. She says more accidents have been reported in the past month as weather warmed and farmers got into fields.

Salzwedel says the network supports children working on farms but wants to ensure that children who drive tractors are developmentally ready to do so.

She also says many children who are killed are not working but merely riding along with parents who are.

The network ran a similar safety campaign in 2007.

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