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New Checklist Aims to Keep Kids Safe on the Farm

In an effort to help farm parents keep their kids safe, the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety has released a new Child/Youth Agricultural Safety Checklist.

The two-page PDF checklist is divided into three sections, targeting safety risks for nonworking children, all children and youth, and working children. It asks simple questions in each section, and offers “yes" and "no" boxes to check, along with a space for notes or dates an issue was corrected.

“Protecting our children on farms needs to be a priority. A youth dies in an agricultural incident about every three days in the U.S.,” says Marsha Salzwedel, M.S., youth agricultural safety specialist at the National Children’s Center, part of the National Farm Medicine Center at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute. “Taking 10 minutes to read this checklist will give parents safety strategies to help ensure that their children reap the many benefits of farm life while staying safe.”

Since 60% of child agricultural fatalities happen to children who are not working, it’s important to make sure their environment is safe. Many of the items in the checklist address these types of scenarios, would only take seconds to implement, and cost nothing. For example, one question reads, “Are keys removed from all equipment when not in use, hydraulics disengage/de-energized, and all equipment stored in lowest position?”

Questions for parents of working youth address training, protective equipment, and general safety. For example, the checklist asks, “Do youth demonstrate safely performing a task four to five times before they are allowed to perform the task on their own?” and, “Are youth dressed appropriately to be working in the farm worksite (no loose clothing or clothes with strings, nonskid shoes/boots, hair tied back, etc.)?”

“There are lots of actions parents can take that don’t cost anything, for instance, assigning tasks that are appropriate for their age and ability, or not taking young children into the farm worksite when parents are working,” Salzwedel says.

The checklist can be found at cultivatesafety.org/resources/. For additional child ag safety resources, go to cultivatesafety.org.

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