Many children live on or visit farms and rural areas, especially during the summer months. It’s important that we all work together to help keep our kids safe. It is important to remember that children in rural areas are at risk for different types of injuries because of:
- farm animals
- open bodies of water
- farm chores.
Children can get hurt because they don’t sense danger or know how to stay away from hazards. As children grow and develop, they get stronger and learn to think things through better. Your child should not do any activity that he or she is not physically and developmentally ready for, even if raised on a farm.
Adults can help lower the risk of a child getting hurt by knowing what to expect at different stages of development. By your own actions, show your child the safest way to do things and how to follow safety rules. To keep your child safe, make sure he or she is always:
- closely supervised
- in a safe place
- doing age-appropriate activities.
Make sure your child has a safe area to play in with protected boundaries (e.g., fence). Put up barriers to keep your child away from hazards (e.g., swamps, dugouts, septic tanks, wells, lakes, grain bins, sand pits). Make sure there is good air flow in root cellars to avoid suffocation hazards. Mark electric fences with a flag or sign and teach your child to stay away from these areas. Make sure your child doesn’t play on or near farm machinery.
Keep farm equipment safe and stored in a locked shed. When not in use, make sure machinery always has the parking brake on and take the keys out of the ignition. When operating farm machinery, wear snug-fitting clothing, tie back long hair, and don’t wear a scarf. Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs when operating machinery. Keep your child out of grain wagons and grain storage areas. Don’t carry passengers on farm equipment (even the back of a pick-up truck).
Keep our farm kids safe this summer, for more information on farm safety visits, https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Alberta/pages/keeping-your-child-safe-on-a-farm.aspx.