Children and farm safety: ‘The unthinkable can happen in seconds’

With children off school at present and with some older ones helping out on farms, the “very best of the Irish farm family model” can be seen at work during this crisis to keep the food supply chain moving, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

However, this also increases the need for total vigilance regarding farm safety, IFA president Tim Cullinan has warned.

Urging farmers to be extra cautious, the president said:

With schools off, children are spending more time at home and farmers must pay particular attention and ensure children are aware of the dangers on the farm – and are supervised at all times.

“This is particularly true for farmers who still have cows to calve,” Cullinan added.

He highlighted that a farm “can be a wonderful place for children, where independence and responsibility are fostered”.

The president stressed that the Irish family farm is at the centre of the Irish food supply chain, adding that the security of this has never been more important.

However, it can also be a dangerous place where the unthinkable can happen in a matter of seconds.

“Children are expected to be at home for an extended period of time, with social isolation meaning their activity outlets are curtailed. Farm families must plan for this,” the president said.

Caroline Farrell, IFA’s National Farm Family Committe chair, also commented on the issue, pointing to the facilities available:

“The IFA has dedicated farm safety resources on – I urge parents to visit our website and use these in their discussions with their children.

“If farmers have difficulties accessing the internet, they can contact their local office and request information be posted to them,” Farrell added.