With the summer holidays fast approaching this month we’re urging farmers to keep their children safe on farms, writes Brynn Francis of the FUW.

As a member of the long-standing Wales Farm Safety Partnership (WFSP), the FUW is asking farmers to remember that farms are a workplace and those managing the workplace should differentiate between working areas and areas that may be seen as part of the home.

Many of you who have raised and are raising children on a farm know that farms are wonderful places for children to grow up.

Our farms are places to learn about independence, responsibility and of course how our food is produced.

But farms and farmyards are not playgrounds. They are places of work and they are dangerous. During these extraordinary times and over the summer holidays parents have to juggle more than ever, but we must make every effort to keep our children safe.

Being hit by, or run over by, farm machinery or visiting vehicles is the biggest single cause of children being killed on farms. Falling from tractors and ATVs; drowning; being crushed or attacked by animals or being hit by falling objects are the other main causes according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

We know that children are curious; they will find ways of getting into things that you might not think were possible or up things that you might not even consider worth climbing. And they will just appear behind your tractor, run out in front of your quad bike or pay a visit to that friendly cow that has just calved without thinking that they are in danger.

Children can and do also fall from the doorway or the rear window of tractors, interfere with the operator’s control of the vehicle, distract the operator or unintentionally operate controls, such as the parking brake or hydraulics, when the operator leaves the cab, for example to open a gate.

So if you carry children or adults on trailers (e.g. for farm visits, ‘pick-your-own’) please ensure that the trailer is in good condition with all safety devices working, you provide seating and secure the trailer. It is also advisable to fit guard rails around the trailer edges and arrange safe mounting and dismounting. And please make sure that children are supervised by a responsible adult.

It’s also worth making sure that contractors and visiting drivers have clearly defined directions on where to park, load and unload and where to wait. This is particularly important if you are aware of public access routes across yards or if the delivery zone is adjacent to the farmhouse.

Farms can be dangerous places for everyone, not just children, but children are put at great risk of injury when playing, visiting or helping out around the farm.

I therefore urge you to make every effort to keep them safe - the stress, pain and worry if they get injured would be devastating.