COVID-19 lifestyle adjustments call for enhanced safety for farm kids
As lifestyle changes are made during the COVID-19 pandemic, safety precautions for farm kids should also be adjusted.
Melissa Ploeckelman with the National Farm Medicine Center tells Brownfield since the start of the pandemic, media reports indicate there has been an increase in farm accidents involving youth. She says that is a result of kids being home on the farm more.
“Schools have been cancelled, childcare centers have closed down, outdoor activities and sports are all cancelled. Farming is one of the most hazardous occupations and when you raise a family on the farm, the home life and the work site often overlap.”
She recommends reminding youth of farm safety measures and designating a safe play area with a physical barrier.
“A lot of parents will tell their children ‘don’t go off the lawn’ or ‘don’t go past that tree’. But, if a small child sees dad coming down the driveway in a big tractor they forget about some of those rules because they are so excited to see that person and they go running towards them.”
She says with a room or fenced area designated for play, parents then know children are safe and farmers can feel more comfortable about completing tasks with children at home.