Spring is finally here and those children that have been locked up in the house for the past two months are anxious to get outside and explore the world around them.
On the farm there are many places that are fun and exciting to play, however there are areas that are definitely not suitable for children.
As the field work ramps up, there are often tractors on the move in the farm yard pulling lots of equipment with moving parts. Although it looks like fun to catch a ride on the tractor or skid steer, this can prove to be a fatal mistake. Farm machinery, especially tractors, can be very dangerous and is the most common place for farm injuries and deaths. A tractor driver cannot see directly behind them and a small child can easily get run over. Children sitting on the lap of a tractor driver are a distraction, they can pull or push on a lever or they can fall off and get crushed under a tire before the machine can be stopped.
When trying to get the attention of an operator it is safest to stand back, wave and make eye contact before approaching a machine. Don’t assume that they can hear you, because a tractor is very loud and the driver is paying attention to the job they are doing.
Young children need special attention. They can be very fast and out of view in a hurry. Every year we hear of children being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting too close to an animal pen or being hurt. They don’t understand the danger and need to have constant supervision by an adult or an older, responsible sibling.
There should be safe areas to play on a farm! Every yard should have some play equipment to amuse and occupy children as they spend time outside. A swing, sand box, slide or play house are lots of fun for children. This area should have a shade tree and be close to the house to allow for proper supervision. A fence is best to mark boundaries and avoid animals or machinery from getting too close.
It is good to expose children to the work that their parents do every day. However, this should only be done under supervision, along with an explanation of the dangers and hazards on every farm. A farm is a great place to raise a family if safety is considered.