FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2020

CONTACT: Scott Heiberger
heiberger.scott@marshfieldresearch.org
715-389-7541                          

Keeping children engaged and safe on the farm during COVID-19

Farming is always challenging, and never more so than now, especially for parents with children living and/or working on the farm.

“We hear from parents who are juggling farm work, off-farm work and home-schooling,” said Barbara Lee, Ph.D., director, National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety. “And yet, children are still depending on us adults to keep them safe.”

No matter how difficult it is to be a farm parent during COVID-19, think how much harder it would be if a child suffered a serious injury.

To help parents manage through unprecedented times, the National Children’s Center offers this list of resources on topics ranging from appropriate farm tasks for children to fun, virtual adventures.

  • Agricultural Youth Work Guidelines to help parents and supervisors assign tasks based on worker ability. 
  • Tractors are the top source of fatal injury for youth. It is important to keep kids away from tractors until they are mature and old enough to operate them safely.
  • Safe Play resources for creating safe play areas on farms; includes a child development chart.
  • Agricultural Safety is a four-page brochure summarizing the scope of childhood agricultural injury, the top 5 safety strategies and top 5 injury prevention resources.
  • Home schooling: Need some fun education resources? Check out these mini-lessons, videos, music and virtual field trips to wonders of the world such as the Galapagos Islands and Yellowstone Park.
  • Education tools for incorporating agricultural safety and health into the “virtual” classroom.
  • Gardening: Plant the seeds of safety with guidelines for lifting, bending, hand-harvesting, composting and other gardening-related tasks.
  • Child care considerations: When looking at child care options, remember that people ages 65 and older, and people of any age with underlying medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes, are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Health insurance marketplaces vary from state to state, but a search for coverage could start by contacting an insurance agent, or checking your state’s health insurance exchange.
  • AgInjuryNews.org is an open-access online tool that provides a sobering look at thousands of agricultural injury reports gleaned from news outlets and other sources.

For the best information regarding COVID-19, refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The National Children’s Center is one of 11 Agricultural Safety Centers funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Established in 1997, the Children’s Center is located in the National Farm Medicine Center, part of Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Marshfield, Wis.

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