Farm families urged to make safety a Christmas centrepiece

The founder of AgriKids has appealed to families to make farm safety a centrepiece of their Christmas. “This is a great time to talk as a family about safety in and around the farmyard,” said Alma Jordan.

“With families planning get-togethers and home visits, many children may find themselves visiting a farming relation or friend.

“This can add to the excitement of the season and many little ones will be tempted to skip down to see the farm during their visit. For many, it may be a rare opportunity to see a real farm.

However, they may have little awareness of how to mind themselves when doing so. So whether it is your grandchildren; nieces; nephews; or friends, please be mindful by asking them not to stray to the farmyard during their stay, explaining why.

“Instead ask them to wait until an adult can go too; that way they can answer questions. None of us want to disappoint our children but sometimes a little disappointment may prevent a bigger cross.”

Safe practices

Alma urged farmers to adopt safe practices including:

  • Be safe; be seen: In the darkened evenings and early mornings, wear high visibility accessories;
  • Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. Farmyards should be kept tidy and free from any hazards that could cause trips and falls;
  • See the light: Adequate lighting is essential in areas used after dark;
  • No strings: Keep loose clothes tucked in and jackets closed, with no strings hanging.

AgriKids has the following tips:

  • Keep a watchful eye: Make sure children never make their way alone to a farm;
  • Flag the dangers: When on the farm, use it as an opportunity to explain hazards with machinery and animals;
  • Set age-appropriate jobs: Children can be involved in feeding hens and stacking buckets;
  • Show the signs: Explain the warning signs with animal behaviour;
  • Set up a dedicated play area: Farmyards are not playgrounds;
  • Lead by example: Show your children how you prevent farm accidents. 

Alma said she enjoyed meeting children over the past year in schools, at shows, libraries and various events around the country aimed at creating awareness of farm safety practices.

“Special mention to little Leo, aged five, who insisted – with hands on hips – that he was going to tell his dad how to be more farm safe, and the crew in Derryclough National School, west Cork, who were checking all tractors, had their PTOs covered.

“You are the ones who are ultimately going to make our farms safe and reverse this culture and behaviour that is threatening our sector,” said Alma.