A child driving a forklift in rural Killam, about 170 kilometers southeast of Edmonton, Alberta, was killed this weekend after he lost control of the vehicle on a gravel road.
According to various authorities, the death of 10-year-old boy marks the fifth child killed in a farming accident this year alone, with three sisters dying in a farming accident less than a month ago.
According to the Killam/Forestburg RCMP, the child lost control of the forklift around Saturday at 11:00 p.m., crashing into a ditch and rolling the vehicle. He suffered serious injuries and authorities were unable to resuscitate him following several attempts at performing first aid.
“Members of the family describe the young boy as having operated the machine in the past and he was familiar with its operation,” the RCMP stated, touching on the families justification for allowing a small child to operate heavy machinery unsupervised.
Currently, laws are very un-enforced across Canada with 14-year-olds being legally allowed to operate heavy machinery on Albertan Highways without a license. This ‘minimum-age’ fortunately does not extend to off-high-way driving.
Despite the death rate for agricultural-related deaths dropping off between 1990 and 2012, according to the Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting, farm kids are still much more likely to be killed or suffer severe injury than the average urban kid.
In fact, farm children under 18 in Alberta are 83 per cent more likely to suffer severe injury or die than urban children according to a thesis by Kyungsu Kim at the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health. Overall, farm children are 73 per cent more likely to be injured or killed than urban kids with boys suffering a greater risk than girls.