1. Talk to the kids
Remind them that while there’s lots of space to play, there are some areas that are off limits, no matter what. Farms are not playgrounds and educating your kids about the areas that are off limits will help keep them safe.
2. Take a walk
They may already know this but take a walk with your children around the farm and point out the dangers, showing them the places they’re allowed to play.
- Point out the warning signs and barriers.
- Show them where water and slurry are stored.
- Remind them that all machines are off-limits.
3. Dress them right
- Give them a high-vis vest or other reflective gear.
4. Let them help safely
Of course, the kids want to help out around the farm and it’s fun to let them, but just make sure their jobs are age-appropriate and that they are always supervised.
5. Get to know the animals
Children love to be around the animals and while they aren’t ferocious, they can be unpredictable and dangerous if a child is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- When moving cattle, make sure the children are standing away from gateways.
- Remind your children that a cow who is trying to protect her babies could get scared and try to attack. Even if an animal isn’t trying to hurt someone, just their size can hurt them if they’re in the way.
6. Secure everything
- Slurry pits and lagoons should be safely secured, and children should never be in the yard during slurry agitation or spreading.
- Keep sheep dips and water tanks covered when they’re not being used.
- Do a risk assessment on the farm and look out for areas that are a drowning risk within the farmlands and the yard.
- Make sure all gates and pillars are secured and won’t fall over in case kids try to climb over the gate instead of opening it.
- Lock and secure all chemicals so they’re out of reach of children.
7. Farm machines aren’t toys
- Anyone under the age of 16 should never operate self-propelled machinery, power driven machinery with cutting, splitting, or crushing mechanisms.
- Children over 16 years-old should receive formal training before they’re allowed to operate tractors.
- Make sure keys aren’t left in the vehicle and controls are left in neutral.
- Lower any loaders to the ground and apply the hand break.
8. First aid 101
Refresh everyone’s mind on basic first aid, especially the kids. Take comfort that if they’re in a situation where someone gets hurt, they’ll know what to do. Knowing to ring 112 & 999, to put pressure on a wound could help them help others in an emergency.
9. Prevent falls
Climbing is something children love to do, but it can obviously pose a huge danger.
- Stop access to areas at height and enclosed pens.
- Store ladders flat on the ground to prevent kids from climbing.
- Supervise children who are inside the tractor cab to make sure they don’t fall from the door or the rear window.
- Remind them not to climb on bales or tyres that may look fun but aren’t secure and could easily tumble.
10. Clean those hands!
It’s more important than ever for your children to wash and scrub their hands properly.
- When they return home from playing on the farm, make sure they wash their hands as soon as they come inside and always before eating.
- Animals can also transmit diseases, so make sure children wash their hands after contact with animals, their housing or their feed.
Exploring the farm is what most young farmers love to do, so reminding them of the ways to stay safe will help them (and you!) have safe fun and peace of mind.
For more tips on smart farming, visit axa.ie/farm.