Summer brings an annual spike in youth injuries on farms. Most injuries occur when children accompany parents into a work area, either to help with chores or play. Keeping young children out of the agricultural worksite, and away from machinery, large animals and open water, can save lives.
An interactive Web guide makes it easy for parents to obtain information on key factors to consider when designing and building a designated play area, http://www.marshfieldclinic.org/safeplay/keystocreate. The guide features a 3D modeled, Flash-based "virtual" Safe Play Area. It highlights key elements such as fencing, ground cover, play activities, supervision, proper distancing between play structures and injury prevention.
The guide is based on the document "Creating Safe Play Areas on Farms," published by the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, and supported by funds from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
"We want to provide busy farm parents with the knowledge they need to create a safer environment that encourages developmentally appropriate play," says Tammy Ellis, research program associate at the National Children's Center. "We appreciated the feedback from farm parents who tested our site and reminded us to keep it simple."
Other Safe Play resources include an abbreviated eight-page "Creating Safe Play Areas on Farms 2010 Mini-edition" in English and Spanish, and a convenient how-to manual to coordinate a Safe Play Area Demonstration at community events. Safe Play handouts on play ideas, fencing and boundaries, and protective ground covering can also be downloaded from http://www.marshfieldclinic.org/safeplay and shared at events.
For more information, contact the National Children's Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety, [email protected], or 1-800-662-6900.