Give the gift of farm safety this Christmas season

Give the gift of farm safety this Christmas season

Farm safety is a challenge; almost every three days a child dies in an ag-related incident, dozens more are injured.

Farm safety is a challenge; almost every three days a child dies in an ag-related incident, dozens more are injured.

While shopping for that special child in your life this holiday season, don't overlook one important detail: Safety!

"Many times when we purchase gifts for kids, we're hoping to for that 'wow' factor. This year, gift giving can still have that same excitement, but can come with the addition of a safety message," says Jana Davidson, education specialist with the Progressive Ag Foundation, a farm safety education organization.

KEEP SAFETY IN MIND: From All-terrain vehicles to bicycles, finding a helmet that fits correctly should be a top priority. At a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day, participants are fitted for helmets they will take home with them, thanks to the support of local sponsors.

"Farm safety is a universal challenge, almost every three days a child dies in an agriculture-related incident and dozens more are injured each day," she says. "But did you know there are over 256,000 toy-related injuries to children every year? Every injury and death is preventable."

With many of these occurring around the holidays, the Progressive Ag Foundation is on a mission to make farm, ranch and rural life safer this holiday season.

Keep the gift of safety in mind this holiday season
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 256,700 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2013 – the latest available statistics. Davidson provides some tips to keep in mind when shopping for a toy:

• Make sure the item is age-appropriate, and examine the toy for small, loose parts that could be swallowed by young children.

• Check the toy for a non-toxic, durable finish and be sure it contains no unhealthy chemicals (phthalates, lead, etc.).

• Carefully look for points, edges, and breakable parts that could be sharp and injure a child.

• Be cautious with items that contain a button battery. If young children locate these and swallow them, they can suffer chemical burns in as little as two hours.

• Go Play Outside! You can avoid electronics and consider scooters, bicycles, skateboards, roller skates/roller blades, and all-terrain vehicle for older youth – these are often favorite gifts and reinforce a healthy, active lifestyle. In addition to assuring the gift is both sturdy and stable, follow up with proper safety equipment, like knee pads, elbow pads and helmets. Helmets should fit correctly and the child must wear them each and every time. Trampolines often make popular gifts, too, but make sure to complete your purchase with a safety net.

Practical gifts never fail. When giving a gift to a family, consider practicality. Sometimes, families neglect to purchase items such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers due to the expense or failure to realize their importance. For new parents, there are great gifts out there to help baby-proof the home.  

Contributing to the cause
The holidays are well-known as a time for charitable giving, and there are many worthy organizations that do great things for kids with funding from generous contributors. Donating to the Progressive Agriculture Foundation helps fund its Progressive Agriculture Safety Day program. These events teach children about potential hazards around the home, ranch or farm and encourage them to adopt new safety practices.

In 2015, more than 100,000 children and adults participated in a Progressive Agriculture Foundation sponsored Safety Day. It only takes $12 to help a child attend one of the events. For more information visit progressiveag.org.

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