For an adventurous or curious child, a farm looks like one giant playground. There are barns to play in, animals to visit and tractors to climb. But for unsupervised children, a farm can pose serious risks.
For children who aren’t working on the farm, it’s imperative to provide a safe area to play away from the hazards of the farm.
The National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety provides this advice when choosing a location to create a safe play area for children on your farm:
- Designate the play area with boundaries – such as a fence, gate or shrubs.
- Choose a location away from traffic.
- Choose a location away from hazards like machinery or unstable structures (such as a tractor tire leaning against a building).
- Make sure the play area is away from loud noises.
- Keep the area away from open water.
- Provide adequate shade from the sun in the play area, as well as shelter from wind and dust.
- Protect the play area with a strong barrier that separates the children from farm animals.
- Choose a location that is within sight and sound of a responsible adult.
- Be sure there are first aid supplies, hand washing and toilet facilities nearby.
- Keep the area easily and regularly maintained with grass mowing and snow removal.
- Select a play area where there is minimal risk of snakes, fire ants and other critters.