With children set to spend more time on farms for the Christmas holidays, now is the time to talk to them about safety in and around the farmyard, where to play and when to stay away, according to Alma Jordan, founder of AgriKids.
“Make your New Year’s resolution a lifesaving one,” urged Alma
“Check out AgriKids’ 12 days of a farm safe Christmas on Facebook and Twitter, starting on December 21. There is also a family farm safety hamper up for grabs in AgriKids’ ‘Share your #FarmSafe Tip’ competition,” she said.
Alma’s top tips
Alma’s top tips are to ensure everyone enjoys the holidays are:
1. Make sure children never travel alone to the farm.
Explain how farms are busy workplaces and why it’s important that children should not be there unattended.
2. Keep them visible.
When out and about and make sure you, your family and your yard are well lit. At the recent IFA safety and crime prevention webinar, Garda Adrian Corcoran from the roads policing unit shared the very sobering statistic that 127 people have been killed on Irish roads so far in 2021.
Vulnerable road users such as pedestrians accounted for 19 fatalities, pedal cyclists for six deaths and 21 were motorcyclists.
“Visibility and the wearing of high vis is key in addressing our rate of road deaths for pedestrians other road users,” said Garda Corcoran.
Alma pointed out that high vis vests are known to spook livestock, especially animals not accustomed to handling and younger stock so this should be borne in mind.
3. Prevent the preventable.
Undertake repairs before bad weather conditions and make sure gates are secured and hung correctly.
4. Farmyards should be kept tidy and free from any hazards that may cause trips and falls.
5. On Christmas Day, farm work still needs to be done. However, it is Christmas Day all day. Take your time when getting the jobs done – your family will want you home safe and sound so everyone can have a joyous and fun day together.
6. Set up a dedicated play area to ensure fun but contained holidays.
After Santa’s visit there will be so many wonderful new toys to try out during the holidays. This is a great time to set up an area dedicated to play time and to help ensure no little one is tempted to make their way to the farm alone.
7. When you are visiting the farm as a family or with your children, use it as an opportunity to remind them of the signs and what they mean.
Discuss the different colours.
“When it’s blue – they have to. ‘Red means no and green is good to go. Yellow is a warning.”
8. Explain the dangers with animals.
As lambing and calving are getting ready to kick off, remind children of how aggressive these new mums can be when protecting their young.
Also, stress the importance of hand hygiene. There was a spike in cases of cryptosporidium earlier this year. Washing hands are key in preventing the spread of zoonotic diseases.
9. Set age-appropriate jobs.
Only ask children to carry out jobs that are suitable to their age and ability. Exposing them to too much too soon can lead to tragedy or cause them to worry.
Teach them slowly and build their confidence, their farming instincts and appetite for all things agri will flourish.
10. In the event of an incident, keep your First Aid kit stocked and accessible, and make sure your children also know their Eircode in the event they are the ones needed to call emergency services.
Key items in the First Aid kit:
- Plasters and bandages;
- Eye pads and eye wash;
- Arm sling;
- Dressings and wound wipes;
- Latex gloves;
- Vent aid pocket mask.
11. Remind everyone of the action plan in the event of an emergency, the numbers to ring and the location of emergency resources.
12. Lead by example.
Show your children how you prevent farm accidents and make sure you do the most important thing every day – get home.