Keeping childhood memories and children safe

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Keeping childhood memories and children safe

Date: 
Wed, 01/13/2010

Have you ever seen a playpen (for children— not calves) in a barn? We have. Or maybe heard one of those "I milked cows the day I went into labor!" stories? Yep, it all happens on the farm. Have a story like this to share? Tell us below. These stories are truly a reflection of just how "family" the family dairy farm is. The whole family pitches in to get the work done — everyone.

So how young did you start out in the barn? Was your job holding tails or feeding calves? Or was it to simply tag along with Dad in the tractor? Sadly, some of those fond childhood memories aren't so fond for everyone because accidents do happen. According to the National Farm Medicine Center headquartered at the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, Wis., about 100 children are killed and 32,800 are seriously injured on farms and ranches in the United States each year. It is a disheartening statistic that makes us think twice before letting the 10-year-old drive the tractor.

The National Farm Medicine Center has developed the North American Guidelines for Agricultural Tasks to help keep children safe. These 62 guidelines for common agricultural tasks give you a risk assessment of many common jobs on your farm and include pictures and illustrations. For example, a common task for young children is to help feed calves. But, have you ever considered monitoring water temperature to avoid burning, or are you certain there is a protective barrier between children and calves (those babies can be fiesty!)? Milking cows and farming with an ATV are among their most popular guidelines, and all of them are now available online. Click here to see the available list. Some are even available in Spanish.

Let's make safe children a priority on our farms. Without safe farms, those cherished childhood memories could be tarnished forever.

Click for safety posters for various farm tasks.