Outdoor Safety

Kids on Farms

Tips to help keep kidssafe on farms environment. Dangers come especially from farm machinery, chemicals, water and animals.

Farms provide a wonderful environment for children to grown up in and to visit.
However, they are working environments and there can be many dangers and hazards for children. These safety tips are aimed at reducing injuries so that farms continue to be great places to live, learn and have fun.

For younger children

  • Create a safe, secure, supervised play area with self closing gates for younger children away from farm activities. These are also useful for visiting children who may not be aware of farm hazards.
  • Ensure family members and visitors are aware of the safe play area and keep gates closed at all times.
  • Teach children the difference between safe play areas and work areas.
  • Separate driveways and turning circles from home and play areas.

For older children

  • Establish and reinforce safety rules for such as ‘out of bounds’ areas.
  • Ensure they let adults know where they are going on the farm.
  • Teach children the difference between safe play areas and work areas.

Farms have many water areas and these can be very hazardous to children.
Tragically drowning is the main cause of deaths for children on farms – most occurring in dams.

  • Reduce any access for children to dams and waterways.
  • Ensure wells, sheep dips, tanks, troughs and any containers are covered.
  • Check dams and creeks for change in conditions such as higher water levels and debris.
  • Teach children basic water awareness and safety skills.
  • Adults on farms should have current first aid training.
  • Place CPR charts around the home and working areas.

Vehicles and machinery are an essential part of farm life. Unfortunately they are also a leading cause of injury.

  • Children should not ride on tractors or in the back of utes.
  • Children should not ride quad bikes or be carried as passengers on quad bikes.
  • Always supervise children when vehicles are being moved. Hold hands with young children.
  • Ensure all children are appropriately and correctly restrained when travelling in vehicles on the farm.
  • Take keys out of vehicles and machinery when not in use and put out of reach of children.
  • Always ensure children wear helmets and other protective equipment when riding bikes.
  • Check that the bike is suited to the child’s size and ability.

It is important to remember that all animals can be unpredictable even those we keep as pets.
Children should be encouraged to respect animals and learn how to care and interact safely with them.

  • Ensure that all animal pens and stockyards are inaccessible to young children.
  • Match farm jobs involving animals to your children’s age and development.
  • When riding a horse, children should wear an approved helmet that fits correctly.
  • Select the horse carefully and always supervise.


  • Always store hazardous products such as poisons, chemicals and pesticides in line with regulations or manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Choose appropriate child proof containers to store chemicals and poisons. Do not use soft drink bottles or other containers that may be mistaken by children.
  • Ensure power tools and other dangerous machinery are unplugged when not in use and stored safely away from children.
  • Some farm machinery is very loud which can damage ears. Consider the location of the equipment and keep protective safety equipment in easy to reach places.
  • Ensure firearms are stored appropriately and correctly as specified by law at all times.
  • Provide adequate shade coverage to protect young children from the sun.


  • Create a safe fenced play area for children away from farm activities.
  • Always supervise children on the farm particularly around water and animals.
  • Keep dangerous goods locked safely away.
  • Always use appropriate restraints for all children when travelling in vehicles.
  • Be a good role model for children in vehicles and around the farm.
  • Establish and enforce farm safe rules.

Farm Water Safety
Q. Where do toddlers commonly drown on farms?
A. The most common location for toddler drowning deaths on farms are dams.
However, the farm environment has a range of other water locations including dams, troughs, irrigation channels, water tanks and swimming pools.

Q. How many children drown on farms?
A. On average 4 children under the age of five drown in farm dams every year and there are approximately 3 hospitalisations for every drowning death.

Q. How do I keep my child safe?
A. In rural areas, it is not always feasible to fence off large water bodies such as lakes or dams, so Royal Life Saving suggests parents create a Child Safe Play Area. Royal Life Saving has also developed the Keep Watch @ The Farm program which provides information and useful resources to improve parent/carer awareness of drowning prevention strategies on farms.

Q. What is a Child Safe Play Area?
A. A Child Safe Play Area is a carefully planned, designated location which is securely fenced and helps to prevent a young child from entering the farm without adult supervision. Pool fencing requirements, including appropriate ‘child resistant’ gates and latches, can be used as a guide in planning a safe play area. For more information visit www.keepwatch.com.au for Fact Sheet No. 6 Child Safe Play Areas.

Q. Why do parents leave their children unsupervised?
A. There are many reasons why a parent’s attention can be diverted from their child. Busy lifestyles, phone calls, visitors, preparing meals and other siblings are just some of the things which demand attention. The Keep Watch program advocates for supervision to be supported by fenced Child Safe Play Areas, water awareness and resuscitation skills.. been educating Australian parents and carers on how to keep their children safe when in, on, or around the water in a variety of locations. We are now tailoring the approach to locations with specific hazards – like those found on a farm.
Keep Watch @ The Farm is aimed at preventing children under 5 years of age from drowning by getting parents and carers to undertake four simple actions:

Ensure that when your child is in, on, or around water they are within arms’ reach and have your undivided attention at all times. This may include holding their
hand when walking near a dam.

Restrict Access
Ensure that where possible there is a barrier between your child and the water. This may be an effective and well maintained pool fence or a child safe play area on a farm.

Water Awareness
Enrol your child in a water familiarisation class such as Royal Life Saving’s Swim and Survive Wonder Program. When new people arrive at your farm, ensure that they are made aware of the hazards and risks the farm environment may pose to children.

Be prepared to respond in an emergency. Enrol in a resuscitation course and update your skills annually.
If required, any response is better than nothing. Just push and blow, and as soon as possible call ‘000’.

Keep Watch @ The Farm
On average 4 children under the age of five drown in farm dams every year and there are approximately, 3 hospitalisations for every drowning death.
The farm environment has a range of water locations such as dams, troughs, irrigation channels, water tanks and swimming pools. Easy access to water and a lack of direct adult supervision by parents or carers have been the main factors in the farm drowning deaths of children.


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