The Alberta Farm Safety Program has many resources and tools designed for rural kids. The latest resource made available is a brand new activity book. This is one of the most popular resources, and features Farm Safety Star. New Adventures with Farm Safety Star is 24 pages of hazard hunts, puzzles and colouring posters. Topics range from chemical safety to water safety to animal safety. There is even a page where kids can write a story or draw a picture about farm safety and send it in to receive a prize.
Farm Safety Kids’ Club, a club for rural kids aged 10 and under, has 1,950 members from across the province. Members receive a special newsletter addressed right to them, three times a year. The newsletters are full of information, activities and games all about staying safe on the farm. The kids’ club is a great way for children to learn about safety and to share this information with the rest of their family. A recent survey indicated that 99 per cent of respondents found the newsletter is helpful. A high percentage of respondents (82.5 per cent) talked to their families about what they learned in the newsletter. These conversations focused on what’s safe and what isn’t around the farm, with a particular focus on the “consequences” of unsafe practices. Almost 70 per cent of respondents said they made safety related changes around their farm as a result of access to the newsletter.
“As an awareness and education program it is great to see so many discussions occurring in the family,” says Raelyn Peterson, farm safety co-ordinator for Alberta Agriculture. “This is trickle up effect is very valuable, as any time farm safety is discussed it increases the awareness of the issue. We have even heard of several times when kids reminded or even corrected parents or an adult when they saw them doing something unsafe.”
The activity book is raising safety awareness with kids aged three to 14. The farm safety recently conducted a survey that confirmed children call recall all of the safety tips in the book:
One hundred per cent of respondents want to become a farm safety star. One hundred per cent of respondents knew to store chemicals in a locked shed and that the thickness of ice should always be tested by an adult first
Nearly all respondents affirmed you shouldn’t ride an ATV if you can’t reach the brake; that you should wear ear protection around loud machinery; that it’s not safe to ride a tractor — one seat, one rider
An overwhelming number of children talked with their parents about what they learned in the Activity Book (96.6 per cent).
Teachers and parents/guardians are grateful for the Activity Book as a tool to raise awareness around farm safety issues
Children seek opportunities to tell their own safety stories, particularly when they play a role as a hero or learned a farm safety lesson firsthand.
The most important things children said they learned were: general farm safety tips (the dangers of moving machinery and bales), animal safety tips, when there’s one seat there should be one rider and the importance of parental supervision on the farm.
For more information, visit www.agriculture.alberta.ca/farmsafetyor call (780) 538-5633