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Safe Play Areas on Your Farm

Children are naturally curious, especially younger children. And there are a lot of things to be curious about on the farm! But that curiosity can unknowingly lead them into dangerous places. A safe play area is a great way to ensure the safety of kids on the farm. Here are a few tips to help you establish a safe play area.

• Separated from traffic and work areas.

• Easily identifiable boundaries. Fences are ideal.

• An area easily supervised, such as looking out a back window.

• Free from dangerous debris.

• Plenty of room to run and explore.

• Safe and age-appropriate play equipment.

A fence provides a terrific boundary for safe play areas. Ron and Arianne Henry of Versailles, Ohio won a $250 Successful Farming Farm Family grant to help cover the costs. Farm Safety 4 Just Kids awards $250 to ten farm families to conduct safety projects on their farm. Email Shari Burgus, education director for more information.

If you can’t fence the play area, use landmarks: a tree, a bush, a pole, a driveway. Walk the boundary with your children. Explain the boundary is important because it keeps them safe, and go over any consequences of breaking the boundary rule. Keep in mind the boundary is only the first line of defense. Supervision is critical, and not just for play areas without a fence.

 

Give children reasons to stay in the identified play area. Provide appropriate play items, such as swings, a sand box, or playhouse, which make the play area appealing to children. If the farmstead is more enticing than the designated play area, your efforts may not be effective.

A safe outdoor play area away from livestock, traffic and machinery is essential for children to grow up safe and healthy on a farm or ranch. Let’s keep our next generation of rural children safe!

For more information on farm safety, or to learn how to start a chapter, visitwww.fs4jk.org.
*This post was submitted by Tracy Schlater from Farm Safety 4 Just Kids

 

Farm Safety 4 Just Kids Celebrates 25 Years

2012 marks the 25th anniversary of Farm Safety 4 Just Kids (FS4JK). The organization has promoted farm safety to more than 6 million people through local programs and education since 1987.
Over the past 25 years, FS4JK has established a network of more than 120 chapters across the United States and Canada that offer farm safety presentations on a local level. In that time, 35,600 volunteers donated 280,000 hours of their time to help promote safety on the farm.

Marilyn Adams founded the non-profit organization in 1987 after the death of her 11-year-old son in a gravity flow grain wagon accident. Its mission is to promote a safe farm environment to prevent health hazards, injuries and fatalities to children and youth. What started as a tribute to her son has touched nearly 6 million people so far.

“I didn’t really know what to expect when I started FS4JK,” said Adams, FS4JK founder. “The organization has grown and evolved so much in the past 25 years. It’s exciting to think about what lies ahead for the farm safety movement.”

FS4JK focuses on prevention through education. The organization has created a spectrum of nearly 100 educational resources on a variety of farm safety related topics. All resources are available to the public via an online catalog.

“Our goal is to teach the next generation of farmers to be safe,” said Shari Burgus, education director. “The entire industry depends on it.”

Education is paying off. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, from 1998 to 2009 the rate of all farm youth injuries has decreased by 59 percent. FS4JK was specifically mentioned as a contributing factor to the decline. Additional influences included other organizations, governmental agencies, educational institutions and private corporations.

FS4JK utilizes a system of local outreach chapters to spread farm safety education throughout the country. Amy Rademaker, an outreach coordinator in Illinois, expressed how being a part of FS4JK has impacted her life.

“I grew up in a farm family. Being a part of this organization has changed the way I look at what we did growing up on the farm,” said Rademaker. “I think FS4JK has made me think of how things will be different for my son in a farm environment. It’s about finding a balance while still honoring family and tradition.”

Corporate sponsors and individual donors fund FS4JK. Current projects include overhauling the current ATV safety packet, plus working with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health to research how safety needs are impacted in the changing demographics of agriculture as small, part-time farms are on the rise.

“We’re excited to step back and recognize our past success and the tremendous support we’ve seen from sponsors over the past 25 years that has helped us with our mission,” said Dave Schweitz, FS4JK executive director. “It’s a true testament to the importance of the farm safety movement and their dedication to their customers and agriculture. We look forward to building on those partnerships as we continue to build the organization.”

For more information on farm safety, or to learn how to start a chapter, visit www.fs4jk.org.
*This post was submitted by Tracy Schlater from Farm Safety 4 Just Kids

Children’s Safety on the Farm

As soon as kids learn to walk it seems they want to “help”. Whether it’s helping mom bake cookies or help dad feed the calves, giving kids chores establishes responsibility and develops skills.

The key for a parent is to recognize when a task is too advanced for their child. Sadly, many children on the farm are hurt each year by doing something that is beyond their ability. Although parents cannot completely child-proof a farm or ranch, they need to make it as safe as possible.

A few precautions will help keep your kids safe and give you a little peace of mind.

• Find out what the developmental characteristics of children are at specific ages. Pair that with your impression of maturity level and ability to determine a child’s readiness for a task.

• Identify the dangerous areas on your farm or ranch. Using your child’s characteristics and common sense, determine where kids are most likely to get hurt.

• Set up appropriate rules for children to follow and be consistent in enforcing them.

• Teach kids how to safety handle each job and make sure they have the necessary protective equipment.

• Supervision is key. Watch them do their chores until they can demonstrate safe practices repeatedly.

Kids love to help. It’s how they learn, experience, and appreciate life on the farm. Taking steps to make sure they’re tackling appropriate chores will keep them safe.

For more information on farm safety, visit www.fs4jk.org

*This post was submitted by Tracy Schlater from Farm Safety 4 Just Kids

 

 

 

 

Stay Safe During Winter

We know it may not be winter everywhere right now but please keep these tips in mind during the winter months. Winter brings with it special cold-related problems on the farm. Many activities, such as feeding the cattle and plowing the farm yard must take place no matter what the temperature reads. Farmers must take special precautions so the cold temperatures don’t take their toll.

There are several things you can do to prevent injuries caused by cold weather.

  • Wear warm, loose-fitting, layered clothing, preferably wool. Also, wear water repellent outer garments.
  • Wear mittens instead of gloves. Mittens allow your fingers to remain in contact with each other, enabling your hands to stay warmer.
  • Cover head and ears. The head, neck, and ears lose heat faster than any other part of the body.
  • Stay dry.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages. Alcohol actually causes the body to lose heat more rapidly.
  • Watch for frostbite and other signs of hypothermia.

If you suspect frostbite or hypothermia, it’s important to:

  • Seek immediate shelter in a warm place if you can’t stop shivering, notice numbness, or become disoriented.
  • Handle any frostbitten area gently. Don’t rub it.
  • Remove cold, wet, and restricting clothing and replace with dry items.
  • Warm the body gradually, not by a stove or fire.
  • Contact your local emergency medical services for help with frostbite or hypothermia.

Farm children are at risk whether they are helping out with the chores on the farm on a cold day or just enjoying the many adventures that might exist on a sunny, but bitterly cold day. Snowmobiling, sledding, or just having a snowball fight with grandpa, could be dangerous. Common sense is key. Children may not be able to identify the signals of danger. Help them stay safe by monitoring their actions frequently. Winter can be a beautiful and fun time of the year to enjoy the farm, if precautions are taken to prevent the cold from endangering those who are experiencing its glory.

For more information on farm safety, visit www.fs4jk.org

What do you do to stay safe in the winter? 

*This post was submitted by Tracy Schlater from Farm Safety 4 Just Kids

 

Milestone Reached in Farm Safety and Health Education Effort

We all hear the horror stories of losing a loved one to a farm-related incident. The families left behind ponder what would have happened “if only.” If only he had been more careful, if only she wasn’t in such a hurry, if only we had known.

Moved by stories of farming-related tragedies, Jack Odle, editor of The Progressive Farmer, launched an effort in 1995 to help prevent unintentional death on the farm. This effort evolved to become the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® Program. Now in its 17th year, the effort has reached its one millionth participant and is continuing the mission of eliminating farm injury and death by providing education and training to make farm, ranch and rural life safer and healthier for children and their communities through its Safety Day program.

Today, Safety Days are made possible by the Progressive Agriculture Foundation® (PAF), an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit with a board of directors from within the agriculture industry and an operating budget of $2.6 million. The program’s curriculum has grown from basic farm safety to also include a focus on rural issues like hunting, ATV usage and even childhood obesity. While the Foundation’s leadership is proud to hit the millionth participant mark, they stress there is still much to be done. PAF hopes to reach its second-millionth participant within the next 10 years.

“The number of children injured each year on farms has declined 59 percent since 1998, but there were still 15,012 farm injuries to children reported in 2009,1” says Bob Marshall of Bunge North America and PAF board president. “We view even one injury as one too many. The educational outreach of the Safety Day program is one of the efforts that has made this decline possible. We plan to work hard to do even more in the coming 10 years with the generous support of our many new and long-term sponsors who donate both financially and with employee resources.”

In addition to loyal sponsors, the program is largely made possible by a volunteer base that contributes time and skills to help run individual Safety Day events. “We can’t thank our volunteers enough,” says Susan Reynolds, executive director — programs for PAF. “We would not be able to reach as many children as we do without their gifts of time and resources.” In 2011 alone, approximately 18,000 volunteers have helped with PAF efforts. As many as 230,000 volunteers have helped throughout the last 17 years.

The core mission of the Safety Day program is simple: to keep children safe and healthy. By focusing on topics that are relevant to children in rural areas, the Safety Day program has successfully reached over one million children and volunteers, and averages 400 Safety Day events a year, all over North America and the U.S. territories.

For more information about PAF and to support the cause, go to www.progressiveag.org.

Read this entire press release here.

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