Keep your grand­chil­dren safe on the farm

The Drumheller Mail - - AGSAFE FAMILY -

farm­ing can be an emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence. There is one thing that we can all agree on – the death of even just one child is a hor­ri­ble tragedy.

Grand­par­ents are vi­tal to the suc­cess and safety of their grand­chil­dren. Of course it’s hard to say no when grand­chil­dren jump up and down and plead “Oh please Grandpa! Just one ride in the trac­tor!” How­ever, your legacy de­pends on keep­ing these young peo­ple safe from harm. So what can you do as a grand­par­ent to keep your grand­chil­dren safe?

First of all, chil­dren aren’t minia­ture adults. Even the most ad­vanced eight-yearold is still a child. Chil­dren don’t have the ex­pe­ri­ence, phys­i­cal strength or un­der­stand­ing to al­ways make the right choice, han­dle large equip­ment or be en­trusted with farm­ing jobs. If you’d like to in­tro­duce your grand­chil­dren to farm­ing, there are tasks that can teach the fun­da­men­tals with­out en­dan­ger­ing their lives. The North Amer­i­can Guide­lines for Chil­dren’s Agri­cul­tural Tasks (NAGCAT) is a great tool to de­ter­mine such tasks.

Es­tab­lish­ing bound­aries is es­sen­tial in mak­ing sure chil­dren un­der­stand that farm­ing is an oc­cu­pa­tion and can be haz­ardous. It’s not “mean” to tell chil­dren that cer­tain ar­eas of the farm are off-lim­its. Talk to your grand­chil­dren about haz­ards around the farm, it’s a great learn­ing op­por­tu­nity for the chil­dren and a good re­minder for you.

Su­per­vi­sion is key in pre­vent­ing in­juries. Even if you have an es­tab­lished play area for your grand­chil­dren, it is no sub­sti­tute for su­per­vi­sion. A watch­ful eye can pre­vent a tragedy.

Chil­dren model the be­hav­iour they see around them. Of­ten grand­chil­dren want to do things just like grandma or grandpa. It’s im­por­tant that they see you per­form tasks safely. If you model safe be­hav­iour, your grand­chil­dren are more likely to be­have in safe ways too.

Re­think your tra­di­tions. If they’re risky, build new tra­di­tions. Talk about farm equip­ment, show them safety gear, ex­plore the farm to­gether in a safe and con­trolled way. You don’t have to put a child in a po­ten­tially haz­ardous sit­u­a­tion in or­der to es­tab­lish tra­di­tions with your grand­chil­dren.

Grand­chil­dren are one of life’s great­est joys. Be­ing able to see your grand­chil­dren grow and thrive and en­joy the farm is in­cred­i­bly sat­is­fy­ing. Take the time to teach age-ap­pro­pri­ate tasks, es­tab­lish bound­aries, pro­vide su­per­vi­sion, model safe be­hav­iour and build safe tra­di­tions. These steps will not only help keep your grand­chil­dren safe, but will help safe­guard your legacy.

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