Give farm kids space to play

While any accident on a farm can be harrowing, when a child is involved it can have a far greater impact on the family and the whole community.

Farms can be great playgrounds for children growing up, but with four being killed in recent years on Scottish farms, the dangers that this can present can have sadly have fatal consequences. And with summer holidays now here, the time is right to ensure the safety of children on Scottish farms.

The incidents in Scotland in the last decade are heart-breaking. They have included a young girl being hit by a reversing tractor and trailer as she cycled in the farmyard; another young girl was hit and crushed by an ATV against a gatepost; a teenage boy died when he fell through a plastic skylight window to the concrete floor below and another young boy died after being trapped underneath a farm quad bike when it overturned.

Farm Safety Week reminds us that farming is not child’s play. Children and young people up to the age of 16 are killed and injured on farms, either because they are working on the farm or because they are playing there.

Across the UK, the ways that a child can lose their life on a farm vary little from year to year. The most common causes of death and major injury in the last decade include contact with machinery or animals, falls from height, drowning and asphyxiation and being struck by moving vehicles or objects.

NFU Scotland’s Chief Executive Scott Walker commented: “Summer is a time when children can be more at risk with the long school holidays and the challenging workload for farmers. We are encouraging farming families to have a dedicated safe play area for younger children so as to keep them safe from heavy machinery and other dangers around the farm, particularly when farms are at their busiest.”