One of the unique features of agriculture is that farms are often family homes as well as workplaces, with children often present, writes Glyn Davies, NFU Cymru Merionethshire chairman.

With the school summer holidays looming, children are more likely to be on the farm during working time. 

Can a child ride in or drive a tractor? If the child is under the age of 13 years, the answer is no.

Farm transport and machinery is the biggest cause of fatality and injury on farm, so it is not surprising that the access of children to farm machinery is controlled.

It is against the law to allow a child under 13 to ride in or drive agricultural self-propelled machines (such as tractors) and certain other farm machinery.


Children between 13 and 16 can safely use some machines, but only if they are properly trained, supervised and competent.

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs or quad bikes) are considered to be self-propelled agricultural machines when they are used in agricultural operations. It is therefore illegal for them to be driven for work by children under the age of 13. 

Animals do not need to be aggressive to cause serious harm to, or even kill a child. The best way of reducing the risk from animals is to keep children away from them, or to allow controlled contact only when they are directly supervised by an adult. 

Farms can be wonderful places for children to grow up, where independence and responsibility are fostered, and family relationships are strengthened.

They are also a fantastic source of learning, where organised visits can inform and inspire children from all backgrounds to learn about where their food comes from and how the industry is vital to everyday life.

However, children are sometimes put at great risk when playing, visiting or helping out around the farm.

No one wants to put children at risk and if there is any doubt as to whether an activity is safe it should be stopped, and advice obtained.

Farms are not playgrounds. All children need is somewhere secure to play that is away from the workplace and if they do need to enter your place of work, adult supervision is essential.