38 children killed on farms in 10 years

A TOTAL of 38 children have been killed on farms in the last 10 years, according to Teagasc farm safety specialist Frank Laffey.

He said growing up on a farm is a wonderful experience for children. Yet, it has been a very sad experience for many of them and their families.

Mr Laffey said farmers must recognise that summer is a particularly dangerous time on the farm and children must be supervised at all times.

“Children are naturally very attracted to noise, especially when it involves tractors and machinery, and these present obvious dangers. But under proper supervision, children can see much of the activity in the farmyard,” he said.

Mr Laffey called for vigilance as well as proper supervision on farms, and suggested that people talk to children about the dangers in such places.

He also urged farmers to seriously consider providing a safe play area.

Mr Laffey stressed that everyone working on the farm must be made aware of the presence of children. He also reminded parents of the need to consider the safety of children working on the farm.

And he suggested that no child under 14 should be allowed to drive a tractor on the farm.

Children over 14 years of age can do so provided they have been given instruction, have the ability to operate the equipment and are supervised. Mr Laffey said children should not be carried on tractors unless a seat fitted by the manufacturer is provided.

“The farmyard is not a playground for children. I would urge each farmer to take the necessary steps to ensure that children who live on or visit their farm are safe this summer,” he said.

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