Keeping Children Safe on the Farm
Farm safety is a topic that many East Tennesseans are familiar with, yet many believe that farm safety is important just for children or adolescents who live in the country. However, more than half of the children injured on farms each year are visitors. Therefore, it is important for all children and adolescents to learn about farm safety.
Farms contain machinery, animals, chemicals, and storage areas that children and teens might not encounter on a daily basis – and that can pose a serious risk to people who do not know how to protect themselves. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), more than 20,000 children and teens nationwide are seriously injured each year on farms.
"With appropriate education and precautions, farm-related injuries can be prevented," said Dr. Lise Christensen, Emergency Medical Physician at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. "Children and teens can enjoy living on a farm or just visiting a farm without injury if they are educated about the hazards and take special precautions."
Tractor accidents, including rollovers, account for many farm-related injuries in children and teens. Knowing the way to operate certain equipment and wearing the right protective clothing is important on a farm. Anyone around this type of farm equipment should not wear baggy clothes and should tie back or keep long hair under a cap.
Teens who work around noisy equipment are at risk for permanent hearing loss that occurs due to exposure to loud noise.
Another farm related precaution should be around animals. Livestock behave differently than the average house pet, so children should be taught proper behavior around animals kept on a farm. Children need to stay away from animals with newborns – a mother may attack if she feels that her newborns are in danger. Always approach animals from the front so as not to startle them, and take note of exit areas so escape can be easy if an animal begins to behave unpredictably. Children should always wash their hands thoroughly with warm water and soap if they have touched animals.
The key to keeping your family safe on the farm is educating them of the potential dangers that can cause harm or injure them. Being prepared at all times can help in the event of an emergency. The more a family member knows about the situation can help emergency service workers better care for the injured person. When calling 911, anyone should be able to state exactly where the injured person is located and what the problem is and remember to stay on the line until the operator says it is okay to hang up.