Grade 4 students at Steffie Woima School participated in an interactive class discussion on farm safety with Farm Safety Centre instructor Priscilla Tames March 30.
Safety topics were discussed such as what protective clothing and gear to wear when driving a quad, how to stay safe while driving a lawn mower and how to react to when injuries occur by calling 911 to get emergency help.
Tames reinforced the message of ‘it can happen to me’ to the students during her presentation. She said there were about eight children in the class who live on a farm, ranch or acreage.
She said safety can be forgotten as common injuries that happen on acreages are from lawnmowers, whose blades turn 16 times in the blink of an eye, or in one second.
“If you have two people on the machine, and if the second person falls off, the machine doesn’t shut down,” Tames said. “It doesn’t know that that second person has come off of it.”
Tames said that children in Grade 4 are closer to the age where they may soon have the chore and responsibility of riding on lawnmowers, which is why she aims to make them aware of the possible dangers that the machines can present.
Spending time teaching students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 about farm safety is paying off, she said — statistics show that hospitals are reporting fewer related injuries.
This shows that children in school are taking Tames’ lessons seriously and are relaying what they have learned to their parents at home, Tames feels.
She also talked to students about the importance of wearing helmets and other appropriate gear such as protective pants and boots when riding quads.
“I talked with some parents and they have said thank you for teaching my kid,” Tames said. “They get into such a habit and routine day after day that they don’t take that time to realize that their kid maybe doesn’t put his helmet on. Now they realize anything can happen.”
By learning about the injuries that can result from not wearing a protective helmet, more kids are taking wearing a helmet seriously, Tames said.
She said she asked some Grade 5 and 6 students how many of them ride with their helmets and said over 80 per cent of them raised their hands, with many saying they are not allowed to ride without them on.
“It’s neat for them to share with me,” Tames said. “I hope they share it with their parents.”
Tames shared her own personal story of having a lifetime of experience riding horses, and then one day being bucked off a horse in an incident that broke her back in five different places and landed her in hospital for two weeks. She said she had to use a walker and cane for nearly two months. Six months later she got back on a horse.
“No matter how good you are at something, anything can happen,” Tames said. “I hope they take that, even if it’s just bike riding.”