Many children live on or visit farms and rural areas. Children can get hurt because they don’t sense danger or know how to stay away from hazards. As children grow and develop, they get stronger and learn to think things through better. Your child shouldn't do any activity that they aren't physically and developmentally ready for, even if they've been raised on a farm.
Adults can help lower the risk of a child getting hurt by knowing what they can do at different ages and stages of development. By your own actions, show your child the safest way to do things and how to follow safety rules.
Before letting your child play in a rural or farm environment, check the area for potential hazards, like: machinery, electric fences, lakes, septic tanks, wells, animal pastures, or root cellars. If you are visiting a new farm or rural area, ask the owners about safe areas for play.
Consider the age of your child and set appropriate boundaries, such as:
Farm machinery, equipment, and tools can pose many hazards to children. When working with any equipment, make sure that:
Animals can be unpredictable, whether they are large or small. Even if they are calm. Consider the following tips for animal safety on a farm:
Have your child do chores and activities that are a good fit for their age and stage of development. To prevent injury on a farm, make sure your child:
If you show your child how to do a job, it is easier to learn. An adult who is trained to do the job should always supervise until a child can do the job safely. You can reduce supervision over time once they can consistently do the task safely.
Before you ask your child to do chores on the farm, think about how they are. North American Guidelines for Children's Agricultural Tasks (NAGCAT) has suggestions for the right chores for children ages 7 to 16. Remember, all children are different.
Before deciding on your child’s chores, think about how ready they may be based on:
If you burn anything in a rural area, use a fire-safe container with a grate on top.
Only responsible adults should oversee a burning fire.
When refueling machinery outside, do it away from open flames or lit smoking materials, like a cigarette.
Current as of: July 19, 2023
Author: Provincial Injury Prevention, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.