Animals are a great aspect of farm life, but they can also be a threat to the safety of those working with them. Livestock is a major source of injuries to children in agricultural settings. The size difference, an animal’s unpredictability, and children’s lack of knowledge or skills puts children at risk.
Children often don’t view livestock as dangerous, yet, animals cause numerous fatalities and injuries each year. When working with livestock it is important to realize some of the differences between how animals and humans sense their surroundings. In comparison to humans, animals:
- See in black and white, not color
- Have difficulty judging distances
- Have extremely sensitive hearing
- Are frightened by loud noises and high frequency sounds hurt
- Are very protective of their young.
Many of these factors cause animals to respond as skittish and frightened of unfamiliar surroundings. Chores involving livestock care and handling are often one of the first responsibilities given to children, increasing their exposure to the dangers at an early age. When working around animals encourage your children to:
- Be calm, move slowly, and avoid loud noises
- Wear steel toed shoes
- Avoid the hind legs of animals
- Approach large animals at the shoulder
- Avoid animals with babies
- Avoid stallions, bulls, rams, and boars
- Always have an escape route when working in close quarters
Even though an animal may look friendly, all animals need to be treated with respect. They can be unpredictable. Teach children to be alert when around livestock and while working with them.
*This post was submitted by Tracy Schlater, Marketing Director from Farm Safety 4 Just Kids