It’s important for parents to put common safety practices in place to avoid the dangers farms can hold for children. The most common hazards on farms include drowning in dams or tanks, accidents with tractors, motorbikes or machinery and the consumption of toxic chemicals. But the most prominent of these are unsupervised interaction with animals or equipment. Children can be taught to be cautious, however they still need to be supervised at all times. The best way for children to be taught farm safety is by practicing safety habits yourself.
Assess the risks
Browse through your farmyard and asses each area according to the age and capabilities of your child. Have a look at what it would be like from their point of view. What you may deem as an adult workspace, they may see as the ideal area for playing. Teach your child about farm hazards and child-proof any potentially hazardous areas. Do so by putting up fencing, installing locks and removing keys from machinery and vehicles.
Safety suggestions to follow
Even Ethiopian agriculture, an agricultural third world country, has adequate safety measures in place. Farms all over the world, no matter how big or small, have safety measures in place.
No matter where you’re from, safety should always be a priority. Creating a farm which is completely free of hazards may not be realistic as there will always be risks, however the risks can be minimised.
- Create a safe play area for your children by blocking off no-go zones. Use fencing to contain your child.
- Lock all hazard-prone areas and be sure these areas are inaccessible.
- Fence off water sources such as dams, ponds, tanks and pools.
- Ensure children are kept away from all-terrain vehicles and don’t have access to climb onto heights such as them climbing on top of haystacks.
- Teach them the dangers each aspect of livestock on the farm possess.
Draw up an emergency plan
When drawing up an emergency plan, ensure that everyone on the farm, as well as workers, knows about the emergency procedure to follow. Create an accessible and stocked up first aid kit.There should at least be a couple of people on the farm who are trained in first aid. Be sure to keep emergency numbers and addresses next to the telephone. Regular talks with your family and workers about your emergency plan will ensure no steps can be missed or forgotten. Plan different emergency routes to your nearest hospital.
Above all, ensuring your children understand what to do in the midst of a medical emergency is the most secure step of all.