Teaching Kids to Be Safe on the Farm

| 10/23/2015 9:30:00 AM

Growing up on a farm is an experience that shaped who I am, and I am so grateful to be able to raise my own children on a farm. A farm is a wonderland for children and their imaginations. They learn so much – not just about animals and crops, but also about patience and perseverance. As a parent, I’m responsible for making sure that the wonderland is safe for my children to explore. 

My wife did not grow up on a farm so she doesn’t have the familiarity and comfort level around farm equipment that I do – which has proven to be beneficial. For instance, there are things I take for granted as safe because I’ve done them my whole life, and my wife is able to point out that they’re unsafe for our children. I’ll never forget the look on my wife’s face when she found me driving the forklift with our 2-year-old son on my lap. I wasn't doing anything dangerous, but boy, did I get an earful from my wife that night on kid safety.

Keeping your children safe on a farm requires much more thought and effort than in a nonfarm home. Depending on the size and function of your farm, you may need to tend to safety in regard to animals, equipment, chemicals and grain.  Read on to find out how to teach your kids about safety on the farm.

Animal Safety

Children need to know how to safely approach and handle animals. Livestock like cows and horses see differently because of the placement of their eyes. They have an almost 360 degree field of vision, with the exception of blind spots directly in front and directly behind them. When approaching an animal with this kind of vision, it is always best to approach from the side, well within the animal’s field of vision. It is also a good idea to speak calmly to the animal as you approach to minimize surprise.

When moving or handling animals, teach your child to keep a safe distance so feet don’t get caught under hooves. Never stand behind an animal within kicking range and don’t handfeed animals, even friendly ones, because accidental bites do occur. Never put yourself between a solid object and the animal so as to avoid getting crushed or pinned. 

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