Being Safe in Rural Areas

General safety

  • Allow children to perform age-appropriate farm work only under supervision.
  • Construct Barriers to keep children from entering hazardous areas, especially open bodies of water.
  • Turn off all farm machinery and equipment whenever children are near.

Transportation safety

  • Children should be appropriately restrained in the back set with a car seat or seat belt every time they ride in a motor vehicle.
  • Never allow anyone to ride in a pickup truck bed.
  • Never allow children ages 15 and under to ride on or operate all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles or tractors.
  • Never allow passengers on tractors, mowers or minibikes.

Machinery safety

  • Never allow children to drive a tractor. They do not have skills or judgment to operate a tractor until about age 14.
  • Post “No Rider” decals on tractors and do not allow passengers, even in a cab or back of pick-up truck.
  • Never allow children in work areas, or allow them to play on idle machinery. When not in use, remove keys and keep out of reach.
  • Make sure master shields are secure on power take- off units and augers.
  • Always know where children are when backing up, and double-check blind spots.
  • Store properly; keep hydraulic equipment (front-end loaders) in down position, and lock brakes on self- propelled machinery.
  • Keep reflectors and rear lights in good condition, and make sure brakes work properly.
  • Never allow children to play in grain, ride in grain wagons, or get into bins or hoppers. Grain may fascinate children, but it acts like quicksand.
  • Never allow children in areas where grain is loaded or unloaded.
  • Never leave an auger or wagon unattended. Grain entrapments happen quickly and few adults are strong enough to rescue even a young child.
  • Post warning decals on wagons and bins.

Livestock safety

  • Never allow children independent access to animals.
  • Always supervise children under age eight around livestock, even when outside a fence. Do not count on them to be calm or not tease animals.
  • Always supervise young horseback riders, both on and off the horse and make sure they wear the appropriate safety equipment.
  • Always wear hard shoes.
  • Beginning about age five, teach children simple rules about livestock such as how to treat them, where to stand, and which animals to avoid. But do not count on them to abide by rules until at least age eight.

Chemical safety

  • Understand why children are poisoned. They’re naturally curious, can be attracted to containers and bright colors, want to imitate parents, and tend to put things into their mouths.
  • Know what’s dangerous: pesticides and fertilizers; soaps, bleaches, starch, stain remover, and other cleaning products; drain cleaner; dairy pipeline cleaner; paints and related products; fuels; treated seed, and vegetation that is toxic (certain garden and household plants), or items that have been sprayed or treated.
  • Teach children at age two not to eat or drink anything unless given to them by a familiar adult. Don’t expect them to abide by rules until at least age eight.
  • Teach children at age five to get permission before eating homegrown fruits and vegetables.
  • Do not allow children to be on recently treated grass or ground. Check label for safe re-entry time.
  • Use safety closures, although child resistant caps are only 35 percent effective even when used correctly.
  • If children accompany adults who bring meals to field workers during pesticide application season, make sure workers remove coveralls and wash hands with soap and water before touching family members, and that children stay in vehicle or on a clean blanket.
  • Keep toxic substances in original containers with label about first-aid procedures and chemicals involved.
  • Keep gas and fuel in proper containers.
  • Keep all toxic substances (including spigots, hoses, pumps, and rags) on high shelves in either a locked building or inaccessible area.
  • Never leave toxic products unattended during use, and avoid using poisons in front of children.
  • Do not mix poisons in containers once used for food or drink. Mark with poison decals. Rinse immediately and return to locked storage.
  • Discard dangerous substances properly in a way that children have no access to them.
  • Post danger signs around locked chemical storage areas.