Every day, 33 children are injured in agriculture-related incidents, and every three days a child dies in one, says University of Missouri Extension safety and health specialist Karen Funkenbusch.
“Protecting our future generation needs to be a top priority,” she says.
Funkenbusch urges farm families to talk about child safety on the farm and to follow these three tips to protect the next generation of farmers:
1. Use personal protective equipment to help prevent health issues in adulthood.
- Severe sunburns and sun exposure during childhood are often linked to skin cancer. Provide children with sunscreen and wide-brim hats when they are in the sun.
- Encourage children to use hearing protection when they are around the farm. Provide a positive example by wearing hearing protection yourself.
2. Children visiting the farm need protection too. Children who are not used to the large equipment and animals on a farm need to be educated about farm safety at the beginning of a visit, Funkenbusch says.
- Nonfarm families may not understand safe practices regarding animals, chemicals, and equipment.
- Establish and enforce rules for all visitors to ensure safety.
- Supervise children closely, especially those unfamiliar with farming.
- Make the play area more fun than the farmstead.
3. Putting safety first means safety always and for everyone, Funkenbusch says.
- Teach children what to do in the event of a fire, severe weather and other emergencies. Show them how to dial 911 and write down the physical address of the farm in key areas.
- Be a role model for safety. Do not allow extra riders on all-terrain vehicles and tractors.
- Do not allow children to play in grain bins.