COLUMBIA, Mo. — Farm safety isn’t just for farm kids anymore, says University of Missouri Extension health and safety specialist Karen Funkenbusch.
Fewer than 1 million youths live on farms but nearly 24 million will visit farms each year, according to the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. Farmers likely train their children about the dangers on the farm, Funkenbusch says, but young visitors may not know the perils of machinery and animals.
Farm buildings, machinery and fields may look like picturesque playgrounds, but they present dangers for guests.
Sept. 15-21 is National Farm Safety and Health Week. Sept. 18 is dedicated to safety and health for youth in agriculture. This year’s theme, “Shift Farm Safety Into High Gear,” reminds farm owners to teach their city cousins and friends how to be safe on the farm.
• Designate play areas away from moving equipment, chemicals, ponds and creeks, bins, fuel, and roadways. Choose a shady spot that offers shelter. Make barns, bins and equipment childproof by locking them and removing the keys. Make the play area more fun than areas that might be dangerous.
• Remind visitors that cuddly animals can be unpredictable. Go with visitors to look at animals and set guidelines on what is safe behavior. Show them how patience and good judgment pay off.
• Just say no to rides. Tractors and other equipment are for work, not for joyrides.
• Do not allow children near grain bins or grain wagons.
• Teach children how to dial 911. Make sure the farm’s address is clearly marked on a mailbox or driveway so emergency personnel can see it easily
— Linda Geist, University of Missouri Extension
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