It’s officially summer since the 20th of June and with children up and down the country nearly finished school until September many parents will be paying money to keep their children occupied during the holidays.
On family farms it’s different however because from a certain age all youngsters growing up on farms become an extra pair of hands when it comes to getting the work done.
Whether it is helping with animals or operating machinery many children play an active role on the farm. Growing up outdoors is part of country life but parents need to ensure that from a young age their offspring learn how to understand risks and dangers and stay safe at all times.
Adults today who grew up on farms were young at a different time when parents traditionally had a laissez-faire attitude towards child rearing. On a busy farm with the adults occupied kids were free to roam the farm when not helping with work.
Health and Safety concerns have come to the fore in the 21st Century in all aspects of life and it’s especially pertinent in farming. Children no longer die from illness and most child deaths are the results of farm accidents.
The facts are that the majority of deaths on farms are children under four years of age. At such a young age children lack the mental skills to assess dangers or the physical skills to avoid them. Children under 6 are commonly injured as a result of falling, drowning, animals and machinery.
- Children should be supervised at all times on the farm in a safe and controlled environment
A great idea is to construct a fenced-in playground for young kids like in this photo
- Children should be taught that animals are unpredictable and carry dangerous germs
- Parents should walk the farm with children identifying hazards of all types and place large warning signs and barriers securing water and slurry storage
- Keep children away from machinery and tractors, secure keys; teenager’s under-16 may not drive a tractor
- No minor under-18 should operate an All Terrain Vehicle
ATVs can be dangerous and require strength and skill to ride
- Lead by example, parents should wear high-visibility and protective footwear at all times
- Teach your kids basic first-aid and have a rehearsed emergency plan of what to do in the event of an accident
- All dangerous chemicals used on the farm should be stored safely, out of the reach of children
- Don’t let older children roam the farm freely without specifying what areas they will be in
- Keep kids away from machines especially during Silage making/pit filling, Slurry spreading and harvesting