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Creating safe play areas on farms.

Esser N; Lee B
Esser N, Lee B, eds. Marshfield, WI: Marshfield Clinic, 2003 Jan; :1-30
Children are curious and perceive the farm as a gigantic playground. But children do not recognize or understand dangers and cannot easily remember rules from situ­ation to situation. They must be supervised and reminded often about where they can go and what they should avoid. If off-farm childcare is not an option, then it is important to have the safest place possible for children to play on the farm. Many farm owners provide play areas for children, but are they safe? These areas could be improved if key concepts of farm safety, playground safety design and adult supervision are merged. This guidance document has been developed as a resource for safety professionals, farm and rural community leaders, and farm owners who want to understand important features of safe play areas for children who live on or visit farms, ranches, orchards or other agricultural settings. The focus is on children between the ages of 2 and 10 years old. The information is a resource to assist in designing a play area that is based on characteristics of children who will use the area, adult supervision, the site's agricultural and environmental conditions and recommendations for play activities. There are no guarantees that any play area is truly "safe." Behavior of children is unpredictable and, developmentally, children are not ready to consistently make safe decisions. Farm owners and parents are busy people and do not always set realistic expectations. Agricultural work and environmental situations are always changing. This combination of uncertainties about children, adults and agriculture can make farms especially unsafe for children; and the authors readily acknowledge this concern. The goal is to preserve the best elements of living on and/or visiting farms so that children can grow into healthy, happy adults with fond memories of playful times in their youth.
Children; Farmers; Hazards; Safety-education; Safety-monitoring; Agriculture; Workplace-monitoring; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Head-injuries; Injury-prevention; Accident-prevention; Agricultural-industry
National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, 1000 North Oak Avenue, Marshfield, WI 54449-5790
Publication Date
Document Type
Esser N; Lee B
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Agriculture; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Source Name
Creating safe play areas on farms
Performing Organization
Marshfield Medical Research & Education Foundation
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division