Keep and Eye on the Kids This Summer
Posted: July 10, 2012
When not assigned specific chores, they might be hanging around or playing in an environment that can be unforgiving. This means that older siblings and parents and guardians have to be especially vigilant. It would be easy to just tell them to find something to do, but in a farming environment, that can be dangerous. Large farm machinery is probably being used every day. And unpredictable livestock may need to be cared for. In some instances, chemicals and fertilizers are being applied. Also confined spaces such as silos, grain bins and manure storages are found on many farms. Then there are the hazards closer to the residence itself like swimming pools.
Here are some simple precautions you can take this summer to ensure safe activities around the farm and back yard.
- Install four-sided fencing with self-closing and self-latching gates around pools and spas. Don’t leave wading pools filled with water when not in use. All children should be actively monitored when around any water, no matter how shallow the water level.
- All playground equipment should be age appropriate and surrounded by a safety buffer zone of at least 6 feet of loose fill material like shredded rubber or wood chips in all directions.
- Keep all potential poisons like pesticides and pool chemicals in locked, secure areas that can’t be accessed by youngsters. Poisonous plants should be identified and removed from the play areas. Be sure children don’t handle these plants.
- If you’re grilling in the yard area near the home residence, keep children at a safe distance to prevent painful burn incidents.
- If any wild or strange animals invade the yard and play area, teach your children to leave them alone no matter how harmless they may seem.
- Protect children, and for that matter anyone, who will be playing or working outdoors with a sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher. Ideally, the sunscreen should be applied 15-30 minutes before going outside and then reapplied frequently if staying outside for extended periods of time.
- Provide your kids with plenty of cool liquids when they are outside so that they stay hydrated.
- If you must move a vehicle or piece of farm machinery in the farmstead area, check the area around the car, truck, tractor or machine before putting it in motion. Double-check the area behind you when backing due to blind spots that could block your view.
Adapted from “The Medical Minute: Stay Safe Around the House This Summer,” by Susan Rzucidlo, RN, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. For additional safety information, contact the pediatric trauma program injury prevention line at 717-531-SAFE (7233).