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What A Pretty Picture!

Most families have them. Those “cute” photos of Jimmy when he was three sitting on grandpa’s lap on the old tractor and Julie at four stuffing one straw between the teeth of Uncle Tom’s lead horse Sooz.

Didn’t you send that photo of Jimmy to the local paper? The paper printed it and all your friends called to tell you how cute he was. What a chip off the old block!

Farm families have photos like these from all generations. These photos speak of family and tradition and good times. But they belong very firmly in the past. You wouldn’t dream of taking a photo like that today. Would you? Of putting Jimmy or Julie — and Grandpa — in such hazardous situations.

Of course, we didn’t think they were that unsafe back then. But now most of us are taking more and better care of our kids and ourselves on the farm. The stats prove it. For the period 1990-2005, the Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program showed that the number of child fatalities dropped slightly. The average number of child fatalities per year was 17 for the first eight years of the surveillance period, dropping down to 10 for the last eight years for the study.

Tractors though, were involved in almost half of all agricultural fatalities among children. In most cases, the child who died was not operating the tractor.

There’s something wrong with this picture.

Take another look at your old photos then make a note to stop yourself if you’re ever tempted to set up the same shots again. Instead, preserve the memories of Jimmy driving the combine at 18 and Julie riding her horse with a helmet.

And keep an eye out for other “cute” photos in your local paper. Complain to the editor. Tell her those images just aren’t acceptable anymore.

Thanks to the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association for providing this farm safety tip. Check out the photo gallery at www.casaacsa.cafor photos of safe farm operations.

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