Controversial tractor campaign takes ‘tough love' approach with children

Childhood Ag Safety logoControversial and blunt, the Childhood Agricultural Safety Network's "Keep Kids Away from Tractors" campaign has rattled traditional thinking.

Stating that it is never okay for a child younger than 12 years to be on a tractor, the campaign takes a "tough love" approach. The earliest a child should be on a tractor is when he or she is old enough to take and pass tractor safety educational classes, according to the network.

The campaign may be unpopular or even upset parents and farm owners. Riding a tractor with parents, or grandparents, is considered a childhood tradition in many rural areas. Some adults consider this "quality time" with the child. During the past year, however, a number of fatal, high-profile incidents underscored the danger of allowing children -- some just toddlers -- to ride on a lap, sit on a fender, or stand on the axle. In an eye-blink a child can fall in the path of a tire, mower or other implement. Some of the fatalities occurred despite cabs.

The Childhood Agricultural Safety Network is a coalition of 38 health, safety and youth organizationswho advocate for child safety on the farm. The network urges individuals and groups to incorporate its resources in their safety initiatives. An archived webinar, posters, radio ads and more information can be found at

The message may be controversial and blunt, but the lives it saves will be worth it. Remember -- "It's easier to bury a tradition than a child."

For questions or for more information, contact Marsha Salzwedel at
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