Children and young people growing up in a farm environment run a greater risk of being injured or dying in an accident than their non-farming counterparts. This study examines farming parents' attitudes and experiences of having their children grow up on farms, one of the most dangerous work environments as their home, everyday environment and playground.
Data were collected using two ethnological methods, a question list and interviews, with a study population of 20 parents. The data were analysed phenomenologically.
The analysis pursued four themes: i) the most dangerous places and situations on the farm; ii) children's tasks on the farm; iii) children as a safety risk on the farm; and iv) farm risk education for children.
Most parents know the risks on their farm, but are sometimes careless when working under stress or exhaustion. Some parents wanted more information and some wanted compulsory preventative or safety measures by manufacturers, e.g. a safety belt as standard on the extra seat in tractors. Children's friends were described as one of the greatest risks for injury due to peer pressure. Some parents mentioned that people who grow up on farms are sometimes 'blind' to the dangers. Other parents seemed to overlook the risks and had their children carrying out tasks for which they were not mentally or physically equipped. Some of the tasks the children reportedly carried out on farms contravened Swedish legislation. It is thus important for farming parents to be repeatedly reminded of the risks to their children and to increase their awareness of how to prevent and eliminate risks in order to avoid accidents on the farm. The situation for farm children is highlighted in a critical discussion.