April 24 2012 09:09 AM

Adequate adult supervision leads to a safer farm experience

Some farming operations have turned to agritourism as a way to share the value of agriculture with the typical consumer. While a small portion have turned this educational platform into a viable business venture, there are many who provide farm tours and petting zoos as a service to their schools and communities. With graduation parties and "June is Dairy Month" promotions approaching, here are a few guidelines to remember when children are visiting your farm, brought to you by National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety.

Farm Owner Supervision Recommendations
• Have a farm representative supervise guests at all times.
• Make sure children under 16 years of age are accompanied by a parent or chaperone.
• When working with a group such as one sponsored by a school or club, find out the number of children expected, and make sure the group has an adequate adult-to-child ratio (See table below).

• Ask farm representatives to remind parents/chaperones to be within eyesight and an arm's reach of the young children they are responsible for.
• Speak with parents/chaperones if they are not providing adequate supervision.

Parent and Chaperone Supervision Recommendations
• Make sure that children know and follow all the rules of the operation.
• Understand the importance of enforcing health and safety guidelines.
• Make sure chaperones are responsible for supervising specific children.

Because your family and children know what areas are safe and dangerous, there is no guarantee that others are aware. It is important to remind the youth on your farm that other kids their age don't automatically know all the same things and to practice good judgement when on a working farm. Even if their parents grew up on a farm, all the important farm lessons may not have been passed to a generation raised off the farm.

Click here to download the 40-page Agritourism Health and Safety Guidelines for Children (2011) to learn more about animal contact, machine safety, hand washing, and a whole lot more!