Farm Safety Week final day focus – children on farm

Today marks the final day of Farm Safety Week 2016 concluding with a reminder that farming is not child’s play.

The fourth annual Farm Safety Week offered a week of themed practical advice and guidance for farmers and urges farmers to consider “Who would fill your boots?” if something were to happen to them and never is this more poignant than when an accident happens to a child…

The Milne family of Demperston Farm, Auchermuchty and Dura Mains, Pitscottie, have farmed all their lives, and now have two young children, Max and Cameron.

A Milne and Son is a family partnership between Norman, Claire and Daniel and Alison Milne, with Demperston being the home farm.

Husband and wife duo Alison and Danny both grew up on farms and know first-hand what a fantastic environment it can be for children, whilst also knowing the dangers that exist.

Alison explains: “On both sides of our family we have seen the impact of personal injuries and having children on farm brings into focus how important it is to think before we act sometimes.

“It is all too easy to jump on the quad bike and forget the helmet or so many other things that provide a quick-fix but we now have to think about what message that sends to our children. The messages we give our children have to be confirmed by our actions, hypocrisy is quickly picked up.

“The most important thing for us has been to help our children to develop an understanding of why health and safety on-farm is so important. It can be futile providing children with a long list of dos and don’ts and for that reason we are trying to instil in them an ability to make the decision to stay safe themselves, that is the theory anyway.”

One simple measure that the Milne family has put in place is signs alerting visitors to the fact that there are children on the farm, but, as Alison explains, it is important to not only educate your children, but also yourself, of the dangers.

She said: “The responsibility that comes with being a parent means you must also ensure you come home safely, we have more than just ourselves to consider now.”

According to the Scott Walker, Chief Executive of NFU Scotland and a member of Farm Safety Partnership Scotland: “We all know that farms can be wonderful places for children, where independence and responsibility are fostered and family relationships are strengthened.

“The farm environment provides children with valuable and unique experiences that enable them to develop both socially and physically, even though they are in an isolated setting. However, farmyards are not playgrounds and evidence shows that this places children at greater risk of injury when playing or helping out around the farm.”

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