‘We must ensure that children are aware of the potential dangers on farms’

Today, Friday, marks the final day of the Farm Safety Week initiative, with today’s key theme focusing on the safety of children on farms.

People are reminded that farms can be family homes as well as workplaces, with children often present.

Between 2007 and 2016, a total of 23 children have lost their lives as a result of a farm accident in Ireland, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

The IFA’s Farm Family Chairperson, Maura Canning, highlighted the potential dangers for children who grow up on a farm, particularly during the busy harvest period.

“Summer is a particularly dangerous time for children on farms as they’re off school and are about more when work activity is running at a very high level – often with contractors on-site operating potentially dangerous vehicles and machinery.

“A farm can be a magical place for children, where independence and responsibility are fostered and family relationships are strengthened.

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

“Growing up on a farm brings both challenges and blessings. It builds character and a solid work ethic and creates an attitude of optimism,” she said.

Power of education

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Agri Aware, Richard Moeran, believes it is imperative that children learn about farm safety from a young age.

He said: “There is nothing more precious than our children and we must do everything we can to ensure their safety. Knowledge in the hands of children will empower them.

We must ensure that our children are aware of the potential hazards and dangers on farms and I encourage all children and their parents to participate in Farm Safety week.

Moeran also highlighted the work that Agri Aware carries out, particularly in primary schools, in order to get farm safety messages across to children.

“We have worked closely with our founding patrons – FBD and IFA, in addition to ESB Networks – in delivering an engaging farm safety film, ‘Once upon a farm…’ which educates students and their parents about the potential dangers associated with farms and the countryside, reminding them that the farm is not a playground.

“Our seven-minute drama tells a story that engages audiences in a most memorable way and they will take these key safety messages with them for life and into their homes.

“The more people who watch this video, the more lives we can save,” Moeran concluded.