Is Amish life more dangerous?
A couple of heart-breaking stories this week. An 11-month-old Amish baby died late Sunday night when it fell from a moving buggy in Missouri. The person holding it had fallen asleep.
Yesterday morning, an Amish woman in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, succumbed to serious burns suffered in a home explosion. She had thrown kerosene on a fire to get it burning better.
The regularity of Amish accident stories makes me wonder: Is life riskier when you’re Amish? No doubt, one reason we hear these stories so often is because the victims are Amish.
But Amish are exposed to dangers most 21st-century English Americans are not. Amish life still revolves around manual labor–the roaring, crushing, slashing equipment of the farm and shop.
Amish drivers take their lives in their own hands every time the nudge their horses out onto the blacktop. Children walk to school along those same roads.
Many technologies Amish use–from wringer washers to horse-drawn corn binders–are inherently more dangerous. On the whole, Amish are less likely to seek coventional medical attention for injuries and illnesses.
Also, the sheer numbers. An Amish mother with a half-dozen little ones running around the farm is just going to have a harder time of it. Especially compared to her English counterpart, with a single child sequestered away in a padded and monitored suburban home. Amish life is not safety-locked.
Not to say that Amish parents are neglectful. Amish children learn quickly from parents and siblings what can be touched and what will burn. Amish parents take precautions non-Amish do.
For instance, I can’t speak for everyone, but when I transport Amish friends and their toddlers, they are always careful to remember car seats. Amish also participate in safety programs. Events like “Safety Days” in Mount Hope, Ohio are heavily attended by Plain people.
I suppose you could also look at this question from another perspective. Are Amish lives physically more dangerous, but spiritually more secure?
Some Amish teens dabble in drugs, drink, find bad sites online, get driver’s licenses and drive too fast, and are otherwise exposed to “big-city” temptations, regardless of their Plain rural upbringing.
Growing up English might leave one better prepared when first meeting such physical and spiritual dangers on your own, I imagine. Though the “Amish cocoon” is porous–outside influences inevitably enter Amish society, no matter how remote or conservative the community.
But Amish society consistently produces people who are morally grounded, law-abiding, and even if they don’t join an Amish church–typically guided by strong Christian beliefs. Not to idealize the Amish, but I think that’s hard to dispute.
I don’t know if we can balance, or even really compare, spiritual and physical hazards. But the question got me wondering. What are your thoughts?
And I hope you’ll spare a thought–or prayer–for a couple of grieving families this week.
Photo credit: Cindy Seigle
I think the Amish lifestyle takes on more of its own risks and takes them *away* from others. Taking the use of buggies for example. Sure, on a per mile traveled basis, buggies might be more dangerous, but what about cars? Never mind the tens of thousands of deaths cars cause, because we know they travel so many more miles, but what about the indirect deaths cars cause? What about the fact that cars kill so many more pedestrians, bicyclists, and even buggy riders because cars, moving so much faster, necessarily hit more slow moving things before the cars can slow down? What about all the people in the developing world, killed by the side effects of producing all that oil for cars? Of course Iraq was about oil. Shouldn’t we consider some of those deaths as being caused by cars? What about the people of the Niger delta, dying because of the First World’s thirst for oil? (See: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/02/junger200702 and http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/02/nigeria_photoessay200702#intro) What about all the coal miners that died over the years to supply coal for electricity production, or the people and environment still suffering in parts of Appalachia, suffering at the hands of mountain top coal mining now? What about the people suffering from radiation in Japan now?
I could go on and on with examples of how modern, English life externalizes the deaths caused by its lifestyle onto others. The Amish in many ways are more responsible for keeping the bad effects of their lifestyle local to themselves.
SAVE A HORSE
THIS IS SUCH A GREAT WEB SITE! ! STEVEN B. MADE VERY THOUGHTFUL COMMENTS. SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR AMISH FAMILIES – 1 BUY A FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND 10 YEAR SMOKE DETECTORS FOR THEIR HOUSES. ONE OF THE 60 HOMES I GAVE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS TO HAD A CHIMNEY FIRE AND THEY WERE ABLE TO EXTINGUISH THE FIRE. I GAVE A 10 YEAR BATTERY SMOKE DETECTOR TO A FAMILY TO TEST IN THEIR HOME. ON MY NEXT VISIT I FOUND THAT THE FRAU HAD TAKEN IT DOWM BECAUSE IT WAS GOING OFF WHILE COOKING. I TOLD THEM TO MOVE IT TO THE STAIRWAY CEILING OUTSIDE THE BEDROOMS. IF THERE IS A FIRE I THINK IT WOULD BE FROM A WOOD STOVE NOT FROM AN ELECTRICAL WIRE SHORT. 2. WHEN YOU FIND A DEAL AT A STORE THAT IS SOMETHING NOT GROWN OR MADE ON A FARM BUY A BUNCH AND SHARE THE BARGAIN. I BUY DAY OLD BREAD FOR 5 CENT A LOAF. 3. SAVE A HORSE – TAKE THE AMISH TO STORES OR EYE DOCTORS.
4. BUY A FARM BELL FOR A FAMILY. IF YOU SAW THE MOVIE “WITNESS” THE BELL ALERTED THE NEIGHBORS THAT THERE WAS TROUBLE.
I ADMIRE AND AM HONORED TO KNOW AMISH FAMILIES. I USE A BATTERY HEADLAMP ONLY AT NIGHT MY ELECTRIC BILL IS SO MUCH LOWER. WE CAN ALL LEARN TO LIVE WITH LESS.
Interesting question…I tend to think it’s more of a rural vs. urban danger. Farm work is inherently dangerous, and perhaps more so on a modern farm with all the machinery. My parent’s accountant lost one of his arm’s when he got it caught in a grain auger when he was a teen. My dad had a student who was driving a tractor over railroad tracks and got hit by a train as he wasn’t watching where he was going and couldn’t hear the horn as the engine was so loud. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Not to mention the numerous friends and acquintances I knew who were killed or badly injured just driving to or from their homes out on gravel back roads to get to school, work etc.
But then city living has it’s own problems. Last year a nine year old girl was caught in the crossfire of a gun fight a block from my home, and was seriously injured as a result. On a daily basis there are children killed or injured in gang fights all over the city. Not to mention parents having to worry about their kids with the heavy traffic.
I would say that parents both urban/rural have to worry about the drugs and alcohol. Rural areas aren’t removed from drug problems anymore with the presence of meth.
I think a lot of it comes down to the parents at the end of the day. My mom/dad were not religious at all but they did a great job grounding me. Despite their best efforts I did my share of partying and experimentation, but I didn’t get lost in that scene like a lot of my friends who did (and who didn’t really have the strong parental involvement growing up). That’s just my take…it’s not scientific at all. And there are always exceptions that prove the rule.
As a Christian thinking of scripture I believe the Amish would feel it is more important to have spiritual safety rather than physical. That doesn’t mean they would go out and take unnessesary risks but for the most part their risks are just a part of life. For example driving buggies, barn raising, having large families and the like are all a part of their normal lives, and yet they can be risky.
The bible tells us we are to be more concerned with our spiritual lives rather than our physical lives.
If we were to try to make a point of not doing anything that might be a risk to our physically wellbeing then we would not be doing much of anything.
Overall, I believe the Amish way of life is safer both physically and spiritually. With us driving fast cars, having power tools for every task, always hopping on a plane to go somewhere in a hurry, having “big boy toys” we seem to take more physical risks with things that are not a necessary part of life for the most part. And spiritually, we may not understand or agree with some of their beliefs but I believe the Amish are more devoted to their spiritual lives than most “outsiders” or “englishers” are.
Naturally I am speaking in general terms and not about each individual person. There are those of us “englishers” that are very devoted but many are not.
Another great topic Eric. Our life everyday is a gift and not a guarantee whether you are Amish or an “Englisher”. I think most grounded “Englishers” and the Amish do not take blatant risks..but just living life is risky business.
A good topic Erik, and in my mind i would think in spite of working and living on a farm, rural life in general would be a little safer and in the long term healthier than living in a city. When i was at the very brief Amish settlement in Georgia, i had found out the Amish farmer that i had met son had died in a farm accident sometime after getting together with that family. I would think since a lot of the Amish don’t use very much machinery compared at least to their English counterparts, that maybe the Amish would have a slight advantage in farm safety. I think in the end since all of us are human and can be prone to making mistakes, sometime deadly ones, we all are about equal in the chance of something bad happening. But i do believe one thing, how many English parents out there know where their children are at say 8pm or any other time of day compared to say Amish parents. I really believe we English are losing more and more the closeness with each other, inside the family unit and out. And its that important edge that plain people have that may help make them a safer society in general. Richard from Lebanon county’s Amish settlement.
You know things, bad things happen all over now days. No matter where you live. It seems no place is 100% safe or pure. I feel for the family that lost the baby. And think, well how many children in the “english” communities have lost there lives due to adults leaving them in hot cars. I know it isn’t the same but it is. And for the Lady that poured kerosene on a fire, Well how many non thinking englishers pour lighter fluid,or starter fluid on barbaques every year and catch themselves on fire, and their homes ect. It isn’t so much Amish or Englishers or little green people, it is NOT THINKING!!! In cars there is car seats for children, maybe there should be something similar for buggies,or they have to sit in the back in inclosed buggies, and in open buggies have to be in some sort of seat. Maybe like the old seats at the swings in playards. You know those little round things that you could put the child in facing you or away from you. Well that is all. Thank you for listening.
Sorry one more thing,the big family issue, that really has nothing to do with anything. My grandmother had 10 kids and raised 26 on and off. There home was an unofficial orphange. They took in any one that needed a home. Yes that was many many years ago. But my point is Back then children LISTENED to what they were told and did is they were told. And in Amish/Mennonite homes that is still true today. And the older children taught the younger ones. Look back to my favorite TV Show, The Waltons. It is the way you teach your children. The right and the wrong, weather it is in everyday life, your spritual life or home, and you pray and pray that they turn out right. And weather it is Rual or City, accidents happen. Again thank you for listening.
We have no Amish or other plain people living nearby so I can’t say that I have observed them up close and personal as they go about their day to day tasks. Where we currently live we now have urbanites pouring out of the city, an hours drive east, to live the “country life”. Not sure how “country” it will be when it is all divided up in 5 acre mini-ranches, but that is for another post.
What I see most often when members of this group are injured in an accident, or injure someone else, is that it usually has something to do with speed. Every thing in the city must be really fast paced, because these people CANNOT slow down. They drive too fast for our smaller roads, they always seem to be in a stressed out rush, they don’t seem to have time to plan what they are going to do … they just do it. The “git ‘er done” syndrome come to life. Predictably the results aren’t all that good or all that safe. Not that locals can’t do some stupid & unsafe things, heck I’ve done some of them myself! It is just that the clash of the two cultures is SO obvious. Same as the clash of cultures between the Amish and the rest of us.
So I think while the Amish people are probably exposed to a few more risks, it is only because anything that involves an Amish person is so “newsworthy” that we hear about their accidents. If a non Amish person was injured pouring kerosene on a fire it might make the local news, but I doubt that it would be known much beyond the locale where it happened. Sad as the death of the infant in Missouri is, same thing applies there.
I grew up rural. Friends were injured or killed in farm accidents every year. An older girl had to have an arm amputated in the field because of a potato harvester accident. Farmers rolled tractors and were killed or crippled. Friends died in car accidents because of teenaged drinking. A few years ago, in my home community, a child was killed when riding behind a snowmobile on a sled; the sled tether broke and the child shot over a snow bank into the path of an oncoming car. A cousin was killed at five years olf when she darted into traffic between parked cars. The worst accidents I know of involving both farm workers and children were related to heavy machinery and motorized vehicles.
Yet many were injured by horses or falls from roofs or barns, even recently. No state or province has made alternate routes available for buggy and horse traffic. Even here, where there is a trail system, buggies would have to contend with ATVs, which were originally prohibited from the trail system but have managed to convert it to their own use in sumemr, and snowmobiles in winter.
I am fairly certain that we will be converting to horse transportation before long, and we will be joining the ranks of those who everyday take chances on shared roads.
Is Amish Life more dangerous
I live in the village but all around us are farms. We are considered farming country and in our town we have no Amish or Mennonite. There are farming accidents here. A friend of mines daughter was driving the tractor and cut it too short – she fell off and the tractor fell on top of her. She did live, but was in the hospital for a long time. A while back there was an accident when a farmer accidentaly ran over his child with the tractor. He didn’t see the child run behind the tractor. Most of ours never get in the paper. It is sad that any farmers have accidents, but having farming relatives it happens-no matter how carefull you are-English or Amish. I do think an Amish accident would get in the paper before an Englishers would.
Marilyn in New York
Family size matters
Robin I think you make a very good point that the children’s level of obedience would affect safety. But I would still argue that family size makes a difference.
Mom is always going to have just one pair of eyes. Once they hit a certain age–for Amish, I would suppose school age, or a little before–then older siblings teaching/watching younger ones comes into play.
But when they are at that vulnerable younger age range, that is when a lot of kids and fewer hands can be an issue. Of course, Amish moms are going to get help too, from their family members, who will often live nearby (but not in every household/community).
Either way, compared to the often overprotected modern child, I’d still think life for an Amish toddler is going to be at least a bit more dangerous on balance.
Another great article Erik, but no matter who you are, you gotta watch your children…..one can’t be too careful…..accidents happen all the time, but some of them could be prevented……swimming pools are another place where accidents happen… you need to watch your children, not even turning your head for a minute…..and what were the parents thinking when they took their 17month old on a KAYAK TRIP ????? just sayin…………
I think we’d have to know more about the rate of farm/rural life
accidents in the U. S. as a whole in the early 1900’s (when life
was similar to Amish life today) in order to objectively answer the question.
I think back on being raised on a small family farm in the 1950’s
and 1960’s. We had our share of accidents, but as soon as our
broken bones were healed, or our burned skin was healed, we’d
be right back there working in the barnyards or the farmhouse
where the accidents happened. And we had tragedies, too, like
when one of our church members fell in his corn dryer and was
killed. I think everybody tried to be as safe as possible, but
we also knew that accidents were a part of farm life.
Although our faith was different from the Amish, we too appreciated
the support of our ethnic religious community (Norwegian Lutheran)
when accidents happened. We worked together, went to church
together, and our social life was together. And … as
teenagers, we knew if we got into too much teenage “mischief”
that became public knowledge, we’d receive some “admonition” from
the adults at church when we saw them the next Sunday. I think
the admonition was usually done out of Christian concern, rather than a sense of condemnation.
I like to read the horse ads in THE VENDOR, a biweekly advertiser for “plain folk everywhere,” published in Brinkhaven, OH. I know almost nothing about horses, but from the ads even I can tell that “a horse is a horse, unless of course” he’s “traffic safe and sound, but shies some at large trucks.” Or “Women can drive.” Or “95 percent traffic safe.” Or “Broke to drive but spooky and needs worked with..” YIKES!
Al, objectively speaking, you are right. I’m mostly speculating here. I think we can generally say like you and others here have that the farm is not the safest place (heck, Amish say that themselves). But farm life has its benefits as well of course.
There have actually been some studies done on the rate of farm accidents in Amish communities. I don’t know that anyone’s taken the data to compare farm life v. Amish life v. suburban life, for instance.
Is Amish life more dangerous?
I would say that the horse and buggy traveling is dangerous mostly because people
driving cars dont watch out as carefully as they should for them. Other than that I would say its the same if your not Amish and lived on a farm.
My experiences are similar to Magdalena’s, but not as direct (I spent most of my childhood in town). By the time I came along, most of my family was out of farming. But, my great grandfather was missing the ends of several fingers from farming accidents. Many older farmers in our area were missing fingers, or arms. When I became a rural fireman, I took a special course in farm-accident rescue. Farming is very dangerous, whether Amish or English. As a paralegal, then as an attorney, I worked on cases for many men injured in the construction business. Again, that is a dangerous occupation, whether Amish or English. I have only worked on one case involving an injured white-collar worker (a fire extinguisher fell on her hand while she was cleaning). Yes, Amish live a dangerous lifestyle, because they work with their hands. But, the rewards are so great.
Broke to drive but spooky
Forsythia, the Vendor is great…and great horse descriptions. “Broke to drive but spooky and needs work” sounds like Amish for “lemon” 🙂
Mona you are right…but I think I missed the part about the kayak?
Magdalena I’ll be looking forward to hearing how your transition to horse-drawn goes…and wishing you safety on the road. I think you are in a bit more rural area than say Lancaster Co, but maybe I’m wrong.
Is Amish life more dangerous?
All I can say is my husband and I shudder every time we see school aged children walking to or from school on very busy roads in Lancaster County. The cars are flying by at 50 miles an hour and the children are walking on the shoulder of the road. I would never let my children do that. I have read that they believe in the providence of God but shouldn’t wisdom be used? I don’t want to seem critical as I admire the Amish. I admire their lifestyle – the importance of family community and of course their God. But when I see children walking on busy roads or just waking by themselves I do get scared for them as our world in not the world it was 100, 50 or even 25 years ago. Children need to be supervised by adults at all times.
That story about the PA woman being burned while putting kerosene on a fire under the kettle is eerily like what happened while I was Amish. The woman in my community was starting a fire for bath water on a Saturday evening. The fire was not going well, so she splashed some kerosene on it, like she had many, many times during her life. The kerosene was not the normal stuff. It had been delivered by the Co-op to a barrel at the farm a couple days before then. Unknown to the delivery man, someone had mixed gasoline in with the kerosene and it was 39% gas (tested afterwards). The splashed kerosene exploded and caught her dress on fire. She ran out the backdoor of the house screaming. She fell just outside the door. Her 12 yr old daughter came running, saw the fire and pour water on her mother to put out the dress fire. The girl then ran into the house and put out the fire that was spreading there. These two stories are very different after that point. The woman was taken to the hospital and then to a major city hospital burn unit. She was burned on 46% of her body with 36% 3rd degree and was given a 50/50 chance of living. This happened on October 7th. She stayed in the hospital until Dec 24th, although she spent Thanksgiving weekend at home. She had 9 skin grafts. She worn a compression suit for years to keep the grafts on. They said the worst was the killing of the infection. They had to use the very last resort to kill it, which is pouring raw bleach on the skin. They said she just screamed and screamed. But she survived, and so did her baby. The woman was 4 months along in her pregnancy when she was burned. The doctors said that the drugs they gave her may have damaged the baby severely. But Mary is now a 9 yr old girl that I cannot see any problems lingering from the accident. God blessed that family greatly in end.
The Co-op’s insurance company contacted the hospital, and through the hospital, all of the doctors involved, and then paid every bill they could before the bill was submitted to the family. In this way, the Amish never had to reject the insurance company’s money. They simply never had the chance. Yes, they would have and would have paid it all themselves along with the community.
Throughout the entire hospital stay, the woman’s husband was at her side or in a waiting room. And he was never alone either. Each day, a couple would go the hospital and stay overnight, returning the next day. The farm at home was taken care of by the community while they were gone. The children did miss the parents and visa versa.
Lance, I too had a friend severly burned (though she wasn’t Amish). She lived out on a farm outside of town, and was driving home too fast on the gravel one night when the car careened off the road, though I can’t remember exactly what it was she hit. Anyways, the radiator (I think it was that) exploded and she was badly scalded over most of her lower body and her one arm. Like your friend my friend was in the hospital for months on end getting skin grafts (in once case she had to shave off her hair and have skin grafts taken from her scalp) and she had to wear the compression garments for years afterwards. Give me broken bones if you have to first, but I can’t think of any worse injury then large scale 3rd degree burns.
I’m glad that both our friends have recovered. Your friend was lucky her daughter was on the ball and saved her mom’s life!
Out of curiousity, Erik/Lance would you know if there are ordnungs that restrict smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, fire extinquishers etc?
Based on Lance’s story and others I’ve heard, and seeing for myself some pretty scary horse & buggy incidents, as well as just having seen the backward ways and dangerous buggies of the Nebraska Amish in the Big Valley, I’d have to say a definate yes – that Amish life is more dangerous. After all, they and the Old Order Mennonites are the only people’s still using horse and buggies/carts for transportation; they still use live animals with old fashioned equipment to work their fields; they don’t have electricity so must implement the use of such dangerous substances as propane gas, oil, and kerosene, which has to be controlled and requires the use of a lighted flame; their kids walk to school no matter what the road conditions or weather; – I could go on and on with all of the things that make their lives alot more dangerous than the average, modern ” Englischer “.
Sorry Erik, guess you didn’t hear the news eh? The couple took their 17 mo. old on a KAYAK trip, and it flipped and they still haven’t found the baby……what were these parents thinking of?????
Amish Life is NOT more dangerous, however if someone Amish gets hurt they are usually working are doing something creative, and it makes the news.
We never hear about the kids that get hurt riding their motor bikes or that get hurt playing football at school. If they’re not Amish it does not make good news.
If an Amish kid gets hurt on the farm everybody finds it out. If a Non-Amish kid gets hurt at school the school officials keep it hushed. Also we pay the insurance to cover the public school kids and their sports programs.
The Amish kids grew up working and doing a lot of different activates and they learn how to walk, climb, and work long before the get a job. The none Amish are very likely to get hurt on the job their first year working until they learn how to manage their bodies productively
I don’t know if Amish life is more dangerous, I think it is hard to compare two person’s lives that way. Farming is dangerous, whether Amish or not.
My sister’s husband is a farmer. There are thousands of things that are potentially dangerous things even on a modern farm and my sister was always nervous when her children were young and had city friends there ‘because what if’. She trusted her own children and that they would keep away from the most dangerous places and be able to handle some of the modestly dangerous things but she felt she could never be sure that the city friends would understand that it was really that dangerous. So farming in general is very dangerous and Amish do more farming than the average person so this would put them at more danger.
Amish also do not use cars as much and use less protected modes of transport but so do some non-Amish too. I ride my bike for at least one hour every day Mon-Fri from May-Sep and often take a shorter trip on both days of the weekend as well. I cannot see that my traffic life would be less dangerous than the Amish but that both of us live a more dangerous life in this respect than those who only use their car.
I think that Amish life is less dangerous in some respects, they do not go to bigger cities as much and I assume they stay out of rough places as they would have no reason being there. They do not do mission so they do not even come to these places for that.
However, life is dangerous no matter if you are Amish or not, it is 100% a lethal activity. We are all going to die somehow and to me that is a comfort, it is the only sure thing there is. If you live the life you want to lead and it leads to death whether Amish or not you have done your thing and made the most of it.
Hello to all,
I have missed commenting on Amish America lately. Our internet access on the farm is very spotty. We are loving our new farm though! I wanted to comment as the baby who fell and died, was just down the road a ways and I drove our Amish neighbors to the funeral. The community is far away enough that our neighbors were not a part, meaning they didn’t church with the family, but felt it important to go to the funeral to show support. The father, Henry, our neighbor, has lost a baby and a 12yr old and told me nothing hurts like the pain of losing a child. So their family tries to be there for families who have lost a child.
Is the Amish life more dangerous? I think it’s more the fact that rural life is more dangerous! Although, of the many families (Amish) that we have met in our month here, most all of them have lost more than one child. They ask us how many children we have and then we ask them. I love that they count all the children, then tell us if any have “gone home”.
Reminds me to keep an eye out for mine and ask the Lords protection, then remember, it’s all in Gods hands!
Have a blessed day,
Inherit the Earth Farms
Misty appreciate you making the effort to update us on your new farm. I was wondering if you had gotten settled in yet. It is interesting hearing some opinions in favor of rural life being more dangerous, but some even. Maybe a poll is in order.
Be well and hope you’ll check back!
Lance, your story was harrowing. Probably one of the toughest comments I’ve read on this blog. But the ending was a sweet one it sounds.
This gas contamination seems to be a problem, I believe that was the issue in the New Wilmington Amish woman who died a year or two ago in a similar incident. I wonder if there is an easy way to tell if what you have has gas in it.
As a nurse in a large Children’s Hospital, I see too many accidents. I cannot say that the percentage of trauma patients from the plain communities is excessive in relation to their numbers in the general population, however, as a general rule, their accidents seem much more severe. Perhaps they don’t seek that level of care for the more minor things…
When I visit friends in a nearby plain community, I marvel at the youngsters. They are always alongside their parents, highly involved in whatever work they are doing. This is really encouraged, of course, and the children seem very enthusiastic to participate (especially when outsiders are watching). Farming ranks high in the “dangerous occupations” list (4th, I think). It sort of stands to reason that “growing up Amish” might be considered a little risky. But it’s amazing how capable those children are when still quite young.
Well, is their life more dangerous? We got a taste of danger on an Amish farm this weekend. My sons were helping our neighbors with haying, my 11 yr. was sitting on the end of the hay wagon as they were headed back out to the field, they hit a bump and he fell off……broken arm! Thank the good Lord it wasn’t worse. He’s fixed up now and will have a cast for 6 weeks. Our neighbors brought bread and jam over the next morning to check on him. That’s life for ya on the farm, Amish or otherwise!
Allowing the kids to ride along on the manure spreader or help unclog the grain mill are just 2 of the things that killed Amish kids, under 5 years old, in the last 5 years. Kids have no reason to be near the machinery. A lot of Amish just view their kids as more helping hands. If they aren’t farmers, they have a more realistic and more safety conscious way of life, but not much more.
there is no question in my mind that amish life is more dangerous.
“modern” farmers may use more machinery, but it’s harder to have an accident when you are sitting in your air-conditioned combine. many amish around here use turn of the century equipment predating osha regulations, some of which have been repaired and revised to the point that they are held together with baling wire and well-wishes.
When I was very small, my seven brothers, two sisters and several neighbor children ran wild on my grandparents farm. Why they lovingly allowed us to is still beyond me. Must admit there was never a shortage of trouble to get into. One of my grandma’s most common sayings was “What WILL they think of to kill themselves with next”? We had our supervising adults seriously outnumbered. We knew this and definitely played that edge for all it was worth. From playing king of the hill on the barn roof to taking turns at round and round – a game where little people hooked their arms and ankles through the wagon wheel my grandpa had mounted on a post in his flower garden. Next, someone else would spin the wheel and the rider hung on for dear life. The winner was the one who could ride the longest without falling off. Even with all the potentially harmful things we got ourselves into,we all survived safe and sound. We learned to do so many useful and creative things watching our elders peacefully work their way through their hands-on-farming days that we would never otherwise dream of. we learned from surviving our idiot games that there were often a myriad of ways to accomplish a chore or project to keep it from being boring. We learned the difference between creatively succeeding at a task and useless work making. Although our creative methods of making work play were not always appreciated by our elders and sometimes resulted in healing time, the problem solving skills developed were priceless. Today,I would probably have a heart attack if I saw a child in my care 20 feet up a tree playing tarzan, or sledding off the barn roof riding a piece of cardboard, but all of us made it to adulthood mostly whole-skinned and better off for the knowledge we gained. I dread far more the dangers laying in wait for my public school nieces and nephews. Those of drug addiction, stds, or overdosing on a dare in the school parking lot. The daily possibility of facing guns in a public school setting trumps any farm work or play danger we ever faced coming up. There are many blessings in this world of technology we live in today, but I definitely think the average hand-worked farm is a much safer place for a child to grow up and get to know the loving heart of God in.
What scares me the most
I agree that a lot of the danger the Amish face has to do with the rural environment. There are a lot of things out here that you don’t have to worry about in a city. But the city has it’s own problems, as someone else stated. The kids play like English kids did a couple of generations ago, most of us survived. But today’s English kids today aren’t allowed to do things without complete supervision and added safety protection. We skated on ice on a pond, today they’d have to have helmets and pads…etc etc.
Another thing is that when you have a lot of kids, it’s natural to expect the older kids to help watch the younger kids. Look at the Duggers’ they talk about that a lot. My own mother inlaw who had 8 kids said it’s easier to have a lot of kids because they entertain each other. But what scares me is how many times I see really little kids in charge of toddlers. A 4 or 5 year old taking his little 1 or 2 year old sister fishing just does not have the brain maturity to not become distracted. Not because he’s a bad kid. Because he’s a young kid. He might seem older and more mature, but brain development is the same whether you’re Amish or not. I have shuddered at seeing that sometimes and I wonder if they really understand anything about brain development in children. You can teach your child to be well behaved and most of them are, but you can’t rush the way their brain matures.
I’d be interested to see statistics on Amish farming accidents to compare whether there are more accidents on farms that allow modern machinery verses those who are farming like our forefathers.
mainstream life has risks too
So, some comparisons –
no Amish child is going to be lured away off the internet by a stranger, if they don’t use the internet.
I don’t think the Amish 9 yr old girls are getting their periods like the mainstream girls are, however they could be I don’t know. Early menarche permanently stunts the growth and it’s an epidemic in mainstream society, due to petrochemical exposure and obesity in children. Many many of the new generation of girls are permanently stuck below 5 feet because of being poisoned by the lifestyle and substances their parents exposed them to. A large part of that is plastic, which I know the Amish use plenty of, but some other products are involved as well that Amish arent as likely to expose their kids to. Menarche also requires a certain percentage of body fat. Doctors say kids are supposed to lose their toddler fat and get lean as whippets, then later the girls put on a little more weight and then hit menarche. Mainstream society the kids never lean out anymore, they remain as chubby as toddlers continually. The girls then go right into puberty at a very young age. We are raising a generation of stunted mini-women and it is OUR FAULT for exposing them to things and a lifestyle that is not healthy nor natural.
Amish kids who work and play physically and walk to school don’t have the obesity rate of mainstream kids. Obesity not only leads to health issues like early onset type 2 diabetes but also early puberty in girls, late puberty in boys (body fat makes estrogen, boys who are overweight thus take longer to mature, and girls it pushes them to earlier), and can cause crippling depression in kids due to dating issues, etc.
I doubt there are as many youth suicides from teasing and peer pressure in Amish society like kids are doing today in mainstream society when others kids post something online about them or coordinate an attack via cell phone, as we’ve seen on the news.
No amish child who grows up in a non-electric home is going to die from playing with electricity, sticking a butter knife in a light socket, etc. nor a fire caused by electricity.
No amish child is going to die from falling into the decorative tropical fish tank, hot tub, or swimming pool. (maybe the pond, but not these things). Studies show kids are more likely to die in a family if they have a swimming pool thank if they have a gun in the house.
I don’t know, but I wouldn’t think the Amish have any fetish for aggressive dogs like mainstream people seem to, I could be wrong. But in most rural societies, an aggressive dog running loose or sometimes just a rule of ANY dog running loose, will be shot. Mainstream suburban and urban people fixate on their dogs as some sort of extension of themselves or over-attach to them since they don’t have kids or close family, and then don’t see reason when they have a bad unsafe dog that hurts others that needs to be put down after killing other dogs, biting people, etc. Also I think Amish kids would be taught better dog smarts than kids who grow up with Disney and think all animals are cuddly and sweet or even ‘magical’. 😛
no amish girl risks her health with hair dyes, spray, curling irons (Ive seen many scars on necks and ears!), toxic nail polish and remover, etc., sitting in fumy salons full of pollutants, etc. These things are toxic, carcinogenic, xeno-estrogenic.
I hope it is the case that Amish boys are not addicted to porn like mainstream boys now are due to internet and smartphones. In mainstream society, boys are so saturated by porn by the time they start dating that they make life miserable for the girls. See the article “Sex Before Kissing” for more information. This problem is ruining relationships and girl’s and women’s lives in mainstream society.
No Amish girl is going to have her dad crippled or killed putting up Xmas lights or a blow-up santa on the roof of their house. If her dad is hurt on the roof of a bouse, it would be because he was BUILDING it or FIXING it, not putting twinkly colored lights or imaginary characters on it for a made-up imaginary holiday.
I doubt any amish girl is going to lose her mom to a plastic surgery gone wrong, or cancer caused by working in a nail or hair salon.
Re: the 11 month old child who was dropped when the person fell asleep in the buggy, mainstream people forget their kids in the car and they die. Neither is OK, just one thing vs. another thing.
When life is more inherently dangerous, people have more kids. If you have two kids and one or both die fairly young, now you have no kids and no time to start over. Whenever there is a dangerous aspect to life, people have more kids. Even when the dangerous aspects are caused by themselves, even if the danger is caused by competition and violence from overpopulation, as in many urban areas and parts of the world, people still respond to threats and danger by having more kids so they don’t end up an older adult with their only kids deceased.
I do feel that people who have a lot of kids are less careful with them, and that’s just a reality. However, kids who don’t listen or don’t use common sense get weeded out. Darwin in effect. I’ve known urban and suburban kids who have literally been retarded in their abilities to do ANYTHING by poor parenting. In a more sane world, they either would have smartened up and been competent with common sense at a fairly young age, or they would have had a demise. In the mainstream society we have kids who know all the features of their cell phone and every pokemon character but don’t know what direction north is and couldn’t walk a mile or make a meal, who probably could have done all those things if they had been raised to, and if they hadn’t been able to, they would have been labeled special needs. We in mainstream society are CREATING the equivalent of disabled and special needs kids through damaging their physical, social, life skills, etc. progression.
Oh, there have literally been kids killed by walking off cliffs, into open manhole covers, walking into the street, etc. chasing pokemon on their phones. Say what you will, but no amish person is having a funeral because their child was chasing pokemon.
I could go on . . . .
more . . .
no amish child is dead because they were bit or squeezed to death by someone’s pet anaconda or boa constrictor!
they’re not likely to die of hang gliding, racing motorcycles, white water kayaking, ice cave climbing, and all other kinds of extreme sports that we wouldn’t give life insurance to people applying for it if they did those things, when I worked in that field. If they die on the ice, it’s because they were cutting it. If they die on a roof, it’s because they were working on it. If they die on a bridge, it’s because they were crossing it or working on it, not bungee jumping off it. Mainstream society is so ridiculously bored that they have little better to do than pay a lot of money to risk their lives. There was a case here where a surgeon whose family and government had put in many years and a lot of money into his training, died white water kayaking. Other cases of attorneys etc. who die climbing mount rainier, I watched a show where a father of 3 insisted on going to climb mount rainier, froze to death and left widow and orphans, all for his own amusement. He didn’t have to climb that mountain. In fact he spent 2 yrs of his free time “training” for that, and thousands of dollars buying equipment and a plane ticket, to go do it, when he should have been spending time playing with and working with his kids as they grew through 2 years of developmental stages.
mainstream people take many risks with the lives and health of themselves and their kids that Amish don’t. but because people don’t see cultures objectively usually that they are inside of, a death of a child in an amish way seems more serious or shocking to them than the death of a child in a way that is the norm in their own culture.