5 Ways to Keep Farm Kids Safe
In the U.S., one child dies every three days from ag-related injuries. Thirty-three kids are seriously injured on the farm every day. Many of the accidents could be avoided, says Marsha Salzwedel, youth agricultural safety specialist with the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, and it starts with understanding how to make the farm a safer place.
As tractors emerge for spring planting season, Salzwedel encourages both parents and grandparents to review the new safety checklist from the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. It offers a thorough rundown of ways to keep all kids safe on the farm.
Here are Salzwedel top five recommendations:
1. Steer kids clear of the work site. “Sixty percent of injuries occur in young children, typically from taking them into the work site,” Salzwedel says. Think about how hard it is to see around a big round bale from the driver’s seat of a skid steer, and remember that big machinery comes with big blind spots.
Megan Dwyer, who farms with her husband, Todd, and their three young children near Coal Valley, Ill., says her biggest concern is who’s in the driver’s seat. “From the parent side, the scariest thing for me isn’t what my kids are getting into, but that someone else on the equipment isn’t being mindful,” she says.
Keep children away from work areas, and always make sure everyone knows their whereabouts.
2. Keep kids off equipment and tractors. Resist the “I did that when I was a kid and I’m OK” mentality, Salzwedel says. Big machinery is a tempting playground for young farm kids, but they can fall, cut themselves on sharp edge, or worse. That extra seat in the combine and tractor cab? It’s not a buddy seat designed for small children. Salzwedel says there are several examples of cab doors opening, glass shattering and children perishing.