Learning Center

Farm and Ranch Safety for Children

Keep your children safe around the farm. Don’t let a tragedy turn your dream into a nightmare.

farm and ranch safety for children

Children frequently want to imitate their parents, but they’re not always ready to take on the tasks they observe. Help protect youngsters on your farm or ranch by observing these safety practices.

  • Keep hazardous materials (tools, sharp objects, poisonous liquids, etc.) out of reach of little hands.

  • Put up child gates to keep children away from dangerous areas.

  • For older children, funnel their need for “thrills” like driving fast into other areas.

  • Engage your child in age-appropriate activities to distract them from a potential hazard.

Here are some age-based guidelines for the kinds of risks your child might be exposed to and the steps you can take to minimize injury.

Toddler/Preschooler

Typical Risks/Injuries

  • Mistaking poisonous materials for something to eat or drink.

  • Falling off farm equipment.

  • Drowning in ponds or manure pits.

  • Wandering onto roads.

  • Injury by livestock.

Protective steps you can take

  • Always have your child in sight.

  • Use physical barriers (closed and latched doors, child safety gates, etc.).

  • Have them engaged with age-appropriate toys.

  • Absolutely NO riding on farm machinery.

Early School Age (5 - 9)

Typical Risks/Injuries

  • Wandering into animal pens and being injured by livestock.

  • Getting tangled in augers, PTO or other farm machinery.

  • Falling off of farm vehicles or machinery.

Protective steps you can take

  • Discuss safe behavior. Make sure safe behavior is a hard and fast rule and not an option.

  • Make sure to have consistent rules around machinery.

  • Assign simple farm chores with supervision to introduce safe farm habits.

  • If your child is riding a bike, make sure they wear a helmet.

Older School Age (10 – 13)

Typical Risks/Injuries

  • Injured by farm machinery.

  • Falling from hay loft.

  • Being struck by car while bike riding.

Protective steps you can take

  • Create consistent rules with definite consequences for bad behavior and rewards for good behavior.

  • Specific training/education on farm machinery emphasizing the dangers involved.

  • Increase in chores and responsibilities.

  • Bike safety classes.

Adolescent (13 – 16)

Typical Risks/Injuries

  • Machinery or motor vehicle accident.

  • Hearing damage from being around loud machinery.

  • Exposure to farm chemicals/poisons.

  • Possible head injuries from ATV accidents.

Protective steps you can take

  • Develop and enforce safety rules.

  • Safety training on all equipment — motorized and non-motorized.

  • Involvement in 4-H, FFA and other agricultural organizations that stress farm safety.

Young Adult (16 – 18)

Typical Risks/Injuries

  • Respiratory problems due to chemical and dust exposure.

  • Motor vehicle accidents.

  • Equipment rollover.

  • Muscle or bone injuries.

  • Possible alcohol or drug experimentation.

Protective steps you can take

  • Clear and consistent rules about alcohol use (especially around machinery).

  • Rewards for accepting and adhering to “adult” rules and regulations.

  • Opportunity to be a role model for other, younger children.

  • Continued safety training on all equipment.


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