Sow the seeds of farm safety with kids early

Have a dedicated play area

Grinnell Mutual, an insurance company, suggested that children who live on farms have their own designated play area (https://www.grinnellmutual.com/…). Parents should consider building strong fencing to separate safe play areas on the farm from work areas.

“Build the play area at least 50 feet from the center of agricultural activity and any road blocks,” the Grenell report said. “Keep it free from pests, wood, scrap metal, and open water. Choose a shaded location to help protect children from sunlight, wind, and dust.”

Make sure gates, sheds, equipment, and sheds are protected as well, according to the report.

Livestock safety science

Many kids find farm animals wonderful, but pets can be very dangerous. Oftentimes, livestock can be unpredictable.

According to the NASD, approximately one in five farm injuries are associated with livestock. Young children should always be supervised around livestock, even when they are outside the fence.

Children should never be allowed independent access to animals. Starting at the age of five, teach children simple rules about livestock such as how to handle animals, where to stand and which animals to avoid.

Be aware of the dangers surrounding the machine

Tractors and machinery are implicated in three out of four injuries on children’s farms, according to NASD. The report said the child is never allowed to drive the tractor, as he does not have the skills or judgment to operate the tractor until around the age of 14.

Overturning tractors and bulldozers are the leading cause of child deaths on US farms (https://extension.missouri.edu/…).

She said: Make children aware of the potential risks and don’t be afraid to correct unsafe behaviors.

Funkenbusch recommends a family meeting to discuss farm safety with children and safer practices: No riders on any piece of farm machinery, and keys removed from farm equipment. Remind children to stay away from grain carts, cereal boxes, and compost pits.

Avoid entering the grain

One-third of all cereal traps and chokeholds in spurted cereal involve children younger than 14, according to the NASD.

Parents should never allow children to play with grain, ride in grain carts, or get into boxes or hoppers. Cereals may attract children indoors, but once on the move, they can act like quicksand.

Never allow children to play in areas where grain is being loaded or unloaded. Never leave a drill or wagon unattended with children. Pill accidents happen quickly, and few adults are strong enough to save a child, even if they are young.

Restricting access to agrochemicals

Another danger to children on the farm is their access to dangerous chemicals. The US space agency reports that at least half of all deaths in the US on US farms from chemicals are children under the age of 10.

Know that babies are curious by nature, and can be drawn to containers, bright colors, and put things in their mouths. Teach two-year-olds not to eat or drink anything unless it is given to them by a familiar adult – and don’t expect them to stick to these rules until age eight.

Keep all toxic materials on high shelves in a closed building that children cannot reach. Dispose of hazardous materials properly in a way that children cannot reach them. Place danger signs around closed chemical storage areas.

Avoid slips and falls

It is also important to protect children from slips and falls and to keep them away from electricity.

For a recent DTN safety story around electricity, see https://www.dtnpf.com/….

To read a first-hand account of how a tragic farm accident affected one family, see https://www.dtnpf.com/….

To see another farm safety story for young people, check out https://www.dtnpf.com/…

Russ Quinn can be reached at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

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