Safety Webinar Covers Children and Tractors

OnFocus – Children born on farms have many opportunities and experiences that other children don’t have. But even if a child is “born to farm,” he or she shouldn’t be on a tractor until they are old enough to operate it safely. There are other, safer ways to cultivate an interest in farming.

Join presenter Marsha Salzwedel, M.S., at noon (CT) on Wednesday, Sept. 19, for an AgriSafe Network webinar examining, “Children and tractors: myths, facts or ‘other.’”

“We do get calls about babies on tractors,” said Salzwedel, agricultural youth safety specialist with the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, part of Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Marshfield, Wis. “Parents and grandparents may see this as a way to foster an interest in farming, but truth is, the farm worksite is a dangerous place for infants and toddlers.”

The webinar, scheduled in the middle of National Farm Safety and Health Week, will discuss the risks and benefits associated with children on the farm, and will also:

-Explore some of the common “myths” associated with children and tractors
-Discuss safety concerns of babies in tractors
-Explore safe ways to nurture an interest in farming in children
-Discuss how youth can work safely in and around tractors
-Determine what can be done to keep visitors safe around tractors and equipment
-Identify resources that can be used to help safeguard children and youth around tractors

Tractors and equipment are a leading cause of injury and fatality for infants and children, and many of the myths surrounding them contribute to the problem.

“Instructor seats (“buddy seats”) are not designed to adequately restrain a child’s car seat, nor are the seat belts designed for small children,” Salzwedel said. “And it should never be assumed that cabs – even with locked doors – will provide protection. There are known instances of cab doors opening during operation and children being run over. There are also cases of windows and windshields giving way when children lean on them.”

Children on tractors can also be a serious distraction for the operator, as “their attention is split between the job they are doing and the infant/child, putting their safety and the safety of the child in jeopardy. Distracted work is dangerous work.”

The webinar is free, but attendees must register at www.agrisafe.org.