(ARA) - The warm summer months into the fall harvest season are some of the most beautiful times on the farm. Crops are in full-swing, fruit is abundant and families often make annual trips to local farms and festivals during this time. Whether you live on a farm or plan to visit one this season, now is the perfect time to remind children about important safety tips for working and playing around equipment.
Each year more than 15,000 children who visit, live or work on farms or ranches are injured and more than 100 children die of agriculture-related injuries in the United States alone, according to the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. With staggering statistics like these, it's time to make a change by developing a "safety first" attitude for the entire family.
"It's always a good time to talk safety," says Greg Embury, vice president of sales and marketing for Kubota Tractor Corporation. "We encourage parents to regularly sit down with children of all ages and remind them to be extremely careful around any type of equipment - tractors, lawn and garden equipment and utility vehicles are tools and not toys."
To help parents start the safety conversation with their children, Kubota is offering farm safety tips and getting kids directly involved through its Farm Safety Coloring Contest. Now through Oct. 1, 2012, families of children 12 and younger can download a page from the "Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety" coloring book and color and send it in for a chance to win prizes. Visit Kubota.com and click on the Safety tab to find out how you and your family can learn more about farm safety while showing off your creative skills.
Kubota offers the following tips to help equipment owners and operators start the safety conversation with kids:
* Stop, look and listen when playing outside, especially on the farm, and always be aware of your surroundings.
* Farm equipment is not safe for children to ride on even when an adult is present.
* Tractors are not toys. They are powerful machines only to be used by adults who are thoroughly familiar with the equipment.
* Children should never ride a tractor. Just say "no" if someone wants to give you a ride. It is not safe to be a rider when the tractor is intended for one operator.
* Stay out of the path of all moving equipment. And, stand far away from a tractor when it is being started, when it is running and especially when it is working.
* Never stand behind a tractor - whether it is running or not - the operator might not see you and you could get hurt.
* Be a "safety first sheriff" and encourage use of seatbelts for your entire family. Just like in a car, a tractor is equipped with a seatbelt for safety. Additionally, a Roll Over Protective Structure (ROPS) on a tractor is in place to protect the driver/operator.
Other ways to get involved include participating in local education programs. The Progressive Agriculture Foundation holds a Safety Day education program designed to make safety education and training available for children year-round. Now in its 18th year, the program will conduct more than 420 Safety Day events in 2012 across the U.S. and Canada, reaching 100,000 participants. To find a safety program near you, visit www.ProgressiveAg.org.