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Families step up safety effort

CHERYL TEVIS 05/03/2012 @ 4:00pm Cheryl has been an editor at Successful Farming since 1979.

Spring is a fun time for Karter Knipper. The 2½-year-old loves to shed his winter coat and mittens and play outside. As the pace of spring planting picks up, he's excited to see and hear the roar of farm machinery pass by on the road or turn into the driveway.

But his parents, Andrea and Kevin Knipper, are keenly aware that a new growing season also plants the seeds for safety hazards. The Knippers' growing family includes a second son, Kiptyn, born in November.

The Knippers grow grain and hay and have a small cow-calf herd near Edgewood, Iowa. Both also work off-farm.

“During planting and harvesting, I help Kevin,” Andrea says. “We were concerned about safety since Karter is very mobile and curious. It would be a safer choice to keep him at day care longer during these busy times.”

The Knippers applied for a 2011 Farm Safety 4 Just Kids Safety Incentive Grant to assist with day care expenses during the busy seasons. Grant recipients are awarded up to $250 to make their farms safer or to conduct safety programs in their communities.

They were selected as one of 10 recipients. The grant is sponsored by Farm Safety 4 Just Kids and Successful Farming magazine. Over the past 17 years, the program has benefitted about 190 families and community groups.

Andrea also used the grant funds to pay family members to baby-sit and to hire help during evening hours.

Last summer they fenced a play area. “Karter already is displaying his love for farming and the outdoors,” she says. “The play area gives us a chance to mow the yard and trim weeds while he's in a safe place, yet still in our sight.”

Horse-related hazards

Mari Schultes received a grant to buy equestrian riding vests for her grandchildren. She says that the life-saving value of equestrian helmets was imprinted on her years ago.

“My daughter was a senior in high school when she jumped off a horse and hit her head on a steel gate,” she says. “Her helmet was demolished with the imprint of the steel bar. When we were buying a new one, we learned that another young woman had died that same day of severe head injuries when she was thrown by her horse; she hit the cement rail of a bridge. My daughter survived because of a helmet.”

Last fall, Schultes had a horse-riding incident of her own. She suffered broken ribs, a punctured right lung, and a broken vertebra tail on her right side. She was wearing a helmet.

“We use horses for cattle work on the farm,” she says. “It's vital to protect our children as much as possible. Children think they'll never be hurt. We, as adults, need to oversee their safety as much as possible and be good examples.”

Safety first

Near Yuma, Colorado, James Miner, 17, heard Shari Burgus, Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, talk about the safety grants at a farm show. He returned home, took a look around his family farm, and applied to fund the purchase of fire extinguishers to keep in their tractors and in the farrowing barns where heat lamps are used.

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