Kids on the farm: Age appropriate farm safety tips
Farms are a rare combination of workplace and home. Because kids grow up "at home" on the farm, we may not think to give them the same kind of safety training we expect in the workplace.
It's not uncommon for a construction or landscape company, for example, to hold weekly tailgate talks to remind employees of job site hazards and the steps they can take to stay safe.
Try the same tactic with kids on the farm. Make your safety talks routine and deliberate. Hopefully, if they see you putting a serious emphasis on safety, they'll be less likely to shrug off your reminders with an "I know, dad!"
Here are some age-appropriate safety reminders for farm kids:
Toddler to age 5
- Supervise at all times.
- Install fences and locked gates to keep young children from wandering into hazardous areas of the farm, similarly to how you'd prevent them from going near a backyard swimming pool.
- Keep chemicals out of reach.
- Say "no" to riding on farm machinery.
Early school age
- Begin a regular habit of farm safety talks, and always model farm safety yourself.
- Start to give kids age-appropriate, supervised farm chores.
- Get kids involved in 4-H so they learn about farm safety from another source.
- Increase farm chores and responsibilities, with appropriate safety talks, and enforce safety rules every time.
- Require helmets when kids are riding bikes or ATVs.
- Begin safety training on farm equipment and require Tractor Safety Certification.
- Require hearing protection when using farm machinery.
- Talk about underage drug and alcohol usage - drugs and alcohol don't mix when operating machinery of any kind.
Growing up on a farm is an enriching experience for most children - one they appreciate more as they grow into adulthood. Make sure they stay safe along the way.