Whether it is a fire, tractor accidents, or even electrical problems, there are plenty of safety hazards around when working on a farm.
Sharon Grose and the Waterloo Rural Women want kids to know that there are plenty of ways to prevent accidents on a farm, while still having fun and getting the job done. At their 21st annual Kids Farm Safety Day on June 11, youth will get a chance to play some games, and learn how to stay safe on their family farms by going through eight safety stations focused on different aspects of farm life.
The day-long event will be held at the Ontowa Dairy Farm at 2600 Northfield Dr. near Elmira.
“We don’t want them to get into bad habits and because farmers and their families live where they work, it is really important to get the information to them. You get complacent, you see all this stuff every day, and you forget how dangerous some of it can be, so we like to remind kids,” she said of the annual event. “It is interesting, because when they come to these farm safety days, some of the near misses they share with us, it can be scary, it really is, and then they share that they have been there previous years, and they tell us that they saw this or we told mom and dad that, so they are good little reminders of what is dangerous.”
The kids will be involved in plenty of activities that will give them the knowledge they need to stay out of danger while on a farm, including fire safety, farm equipment safety and much more.
“They are little sponges, they soak it up and they share it with their families, which is great, “ said Grose. “They are actually going to have the kids put out fires with extinguishers. That in and of itself can be a scary thing because there is a little bit of a jolt. They actually get to spray at a real fire. It is really cool, the Floradale fire department has this unit with a controlled fire. They light it, and the kids spray it and it goes out. Then the next kid can try. It is controlled, but it is an actual fire.”
For the younger kids, tractor safety and proper practices around farm equipment will be a big part of their day.
“We play games, and we make it fun. One of the games that we play surround a tractor. We get a kid to sit up on a tractor, and have the other kids surround it,” she shared. “They move closer and closer to the tractor, and the person sitting on the tractor realizes that they can’t see the kids on the ground. The kids take food and water to their moms and dads, but they don’t realize when you are only five feet from the tractor, you can see them, but they can’t see you. That is a good way to get run over. That sticks with them.”
She says they are also looking for some parents and volunteers to lead groups around the event, taking them from station to station, learning about farm safety.
“These kids can go on to farm full time, and this gets them off to a good start because they have had the education,” she said. “We also encourage parents to stay for the day if they can. We want to educate everybody.”
To sign up for the Kids Farm Safety Day, which requires preregistration, call Donna at 519-576-1933. For adult volunteer registration, call Susan at 519-669-8066.