Let’s Keep Children SAFE on the farm and with “A Legacy to be Proud of!”

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

Color-LogoIt’s almost fall harvest season!  Each September, during National Farm Safety and Health Week, we are reminded of the importance of keeping safety in mind all the time. This year’s Farm Safety & Health Week is September 18 – 24, 2016 and focuses on the theme, “A Legacy to be Proud of!”

Sadly, the statistics are devastating! Every 3 days a child dies and every day 33 children are injured due to agricultural-related incidents. Protecting our future generation needs to be a top priority! Avoid cutting corners, slow down and take a more patient approach to prevent injuries and fatalities on the farm. Following these 3 tips can help protect our future generation of farmers.

  1. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) can help prevent health issues in adulthood.
  • Skin cancer is often linked to severe sunburns and sun exposure during childhood. Provide children with sunscreen and wide brim hats when in the sun.
  • Encourage use of hearing protection to help prevent hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises often found on the farm.
  1. Children visiting the farm need protection too
  • Non-farm families visiting the farmstead may not understand safe practices regarding animals, chemicals and equipment. Establish and enforce rules for all visitors to ensure safety and avoid farm-related incidents.
  • Supervision is important for all children, but especially for those unfamiliar with farming.
  • Make the play area more fun than the farmstead.
  1. Safety first means safety always and for everyone.
  • Teach children what to do in the event of a fire, severe weather and other emergency situations. Instruct them on dialing 911 and knowing the physical address of the farm.First Aid
  • Teach children how to properly use farm equipment before assigning them to any farm task and supervise them closely, especially when they are new to a task.
  • Show children how to properly use a fire extinguisher and have them assemble first aid kits for use in the home, in the barn and on farm equipment.
  • Role model safe behavior and do not allow extra riders on tractors and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Never allow children to play in grain bins.

Wednesday, September 21st is devoted specifically to keeping children on farms, ranches and in rural areas safe and healthy. Strive to leave our children with A Legacy to be Proud of!by ensuring safety is a priority each and every day of the year.

Lead the crusade to bring safety and health information to your community by hosting a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®. Visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529 for more information or to apply. Focus on safety and health-related issues appropriate for your community. Annually, more than 400 Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® are conducted throughout North America.

Photos: Participants at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in Minnesota learn how to assemble a first aid kit. More than 40% of Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® in North America offer a lesson on first aid each year.

Let’s Take the Backache out of Back to School

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

Backpack Safety 3As summer comes to an end, many parents have started the preparations to get their children back to school ready. New clothes, shoes and school supplies, including backpacks, are always among the list of must haves. Unfortunately, after the school year kicks-off, backpacks come home most nights packed full and difficult for youngsters to carry. According to the National Safety Council, backpacks that are too heavy can cause a lot of problems for kids, including back pain, shoulder pain and poor posture.

If you’ve been concerned about the effects that extra weight might have on your child’s still-growing body, your instincts are correct! You may have noticed your child struggling to put it on, bending forward while carrying it, or complaining of tingling or numbness. The good news is that there are things you can do to help prevent injury. While it’s common these days to see children carrying as much as a quarter of their body weight, the American Chiropractic Association recommends a backpack weigh no more than 10 percent of a child’s weight. Here are 6 tips to consider when selecting a backpack:

  1. Choose a backpack with an ergonomic design. Although a roomy backpack may seem like a good idea, the more space there is to fill, the more likely your child will fill it. Make sure your child uses both straps when carrying the backpack. Using one strap shifts the weight to one side and causes muscle pain and posture problems.
  2. Select the correct size. A backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso and never hanging more than 4 inches below the waist.
  3. Look for backpacks with padded back and shoulder straps.
  4. Hip and chest belts can help transfer some of the weight to the hips and torso and multiple compartments to better distribute the weight. Compression straps on the sides or bottom will help to stabilize the contents.
  5. Reflective material on backpacks will help provide extra safety if your child walks to and from school and will help them be seen more clearly.
  6. Rolling backpacks should only be used if completely necessary and if your child has physical limitations. Rolling backpacks tend to clutter school corridors, replacing a potential back injury hazard with a tripping hazard.

Backpack Safety 2Back pain impacts both youth and adults. According to Nebraska AgrAbility, 37% to 41% of farmers which include teen workers, report lower back pain. Back pain is also the most common cause of job-related disability. Participants at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® learn about these risk factors and that back injury prevention starts at a young age. Since 1995, more than 1.4 million children and adults have been impacted through Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program. To apply to host a Safety Day or for more information about the program, visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.

Photos: Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® participants learn to “loosen the load” when it comes to backpacks and other heavy lifting.

Make Sure Your Skin is Not Overdone with Too Much Fun in the Sun

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

Sun Bead BraceletDid you know the skin is the body’s largest organ? Our skin protects us from heat, sunlight, injury and infection; however, many of us do not make it a priority to protect our skin on a daily basis. July serves as UV (Ultraviolet) Safety Month and reminds us why damage to our skin today can have serious long-term effects.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, approximately 90% of non-melanoma and 86% of melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns. However, regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40% and the risk of developing melanoma by 50%.

Safeguard your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation from the sun by following these 6 simple steps:

  1. Wear clothing that will protect your skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays. Don’t be fooled by cloudy days and winter months, as harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays are still present.
  2. Protect your eyes. According to the CDC, some of the more common sun-related vision problems include cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium (non-cancerous growth of the conjunctiva that can obstruct vision) are caused by exposure to the sun. Be sure to wear a wide-brimmed hat or wrap-around style sunglasses with 99 or higher UV block.
  3. Avoid sunburns, as they significantly increase one’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer.
  4. Seek shade, especially during 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV rays are their strongest.
  5. Use extra caution when near reflective surfaces, like water, snow, and sand that can reflect damaging rays. Also, use extra caution when at higher altitudes due to less atmosphere to absorb UV radiation.
  6. Generously apply broad-spectrum sunscreen over exposed skin. Be sure to re-apply every two hours, especially after sweating or swimming.

Last year, sun safety was a topic taught at 36% of all Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®. During the sun safety station, presenters explain the behaviors that can help prevent skin cancer, help participants understand the importance of skin care and skin cancer prevention, and describe how to complete a skin self-exam and identification of skin cancer warning signs.

Do you want to coordinate a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® for your community? Visit www.progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529 for more information or to apply. With lessons for more than 28 topics, each Safety Day has the freedom to focus on safety and health-related issues appropriate for their community. Annually, more than 400 local community and school Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® are conducted throughout North America.

Photo: During a sun safety station at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, participants take part in hands-on activities involving ultraviolet detecting beads to learn the dangers of excessive sun exposure.

5 Ways to Celebrate National Safety Month this June

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

898Safety is no accident! Making safe decisions are choices we make day-in and day-out throughout our entire life. In an effort to help save lives and prevent injuries, the National Safety Council has highlighted June as National Safety Month. The Progressive Agriculture Foundation also supports this initiative. Whether in the workplace, on the roadway, at home or on the farm, these five tips will help keep you, your families and your entire community safer, healthier and happier.

  1. Stand Ready to Respond – Keep emergency numbers nearby and add them as contacts in your cell phone. Always watch children around the home or farm, so they are never left unsafe or unsupervised around water, chemicals or grain. Be proactive and become certified in first aid and CPR.
  2. Be Healthy – Safeguard your health by being aware of medication interactions and keep all medications out of a child’s reach. Adopt a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a balanced diet, exercise and getting plenty of sleep.
  3. Watch Out for Dangers – Be sure to analyze your home or farm for hidden hazards to avoid slips and falls. Also, pay attention when walking. Distractions, such as cell phones, can cause you to walk into someone or something.
  4. Share Roads Safely – From newly licensed teens to aging drivers with health condition, strive to make good driving choices. Ensure that focusing on the road and avoiding distractions are a top priority.
  5. Commit to Host a Safety Day – If you are interested in conducting a 2017 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® for your community, applications are being accepted through July 15, 2016. The Progressive Agriculture Foundation provides training and resources for the Safety Day Coordinator, as well as t-shirts, take-home bags and insurance coverage for all youth participants and adult volunteers involved. To apply to host a Safety Day or for more information about the program, visit progressiveag.org or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529.

The Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program is the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America. Since 1995, more than 1.4 million children and adults have been impacted through Safety Days. With lessons for more than 28 topics, each Safety Day has the freedom to focus on safety and health-related issues appropriate for their community. Annually, more than 400 local community and school Progressive Agriculture Safety Days are conducted throughout North America.

Photo: The vision of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation is that no child will become ill, injured or die from farm, ranch and rural activities. Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®, like this event in Eastern Iowa, are designed to be age-appropriate, hands-on, fun and safe for all children.

From Pools to Ponds – Help Your Family Enjoy Water Safely!

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

Water Safety 15-687As the end of the school year approaches, the excitement of summer is in the air! From May through September, fun family gatherings bring together children for various activities including camping, cookouts, and of course swimming. When the weather gets hot, the perfect place to cool off is a pool, lake or stream.

Unfortunately, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among 1 to 4 year olds according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Many of these drowning deaths and water-related injuries are highest in the warm weather months. On average, 4,900 children ages 15 & under are treated for water-related injuries in hospital’s emergency departments each year.

With May serving as National Water Safety Month, this is the perfect time to talk with your children about water safety and establish rules for their personal safety in or around water. Here are some tips for your family to keep cool in the pool this summer:

  1. Actively supervise children whenever around water. Stay within an arm’s reach of young children while in the water and avoid distractions.
  2. Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim.
  3. Never swim alone – always have a buddy!
  4. Use properly-fitted personal flotation devices. Always wear life vests when boating.
  5. Obey signs about rules and potential dangers.
  6. Enter the water feet first (one foot at a time) and never dive into shallow water.
  7. Ensure farm ponds are fenced and barriers are in place around home pools or hot tubs.
  8. Have rescue equipment by the water. If you have a friend out in the water – remember to Reach, Throw, Don’t Go into the water, but Go for Help!

Last year, water safety was a lesson offered at 40% of Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® that took place throughout North America. Hands-on activities designed to reinforce water safety is taught using verbal, visual and hands-on learning opportunities.  These safety tips are examples of what children & families learn when they attend a Safety Day. To date, more than 1.4 million children & adults have been impacted by a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in their local community. Learn more about the program at www.progressiveag.org

Photo: At a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® held in Illinois last year, participants learn the importance of properly-fitted personal flotation devices. Through a hands-on water safety activity, participants try on life vests and discuss how they are used properly, they can potentially save their life while in water.

It’s National Safe Digging Month – Be Sure to Call 811 before You Dig!

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

As we embark on spring and get ready to tackle many projects around the home or farm, it 14-616 White Hall, AL (Underground Utilities)is important to call 811, at least a few days before you start any digging project. 811 serves as the common phone number used throughout the United States, which should be called before starting any digging project. This protocol ensures protection from unintentionally hitting underground utility lines. Whether you are planning to conduct a project yourself or hire a professional, calling 811 leads to smart and safe digging each and every time.

April is recognized by the underground utility damage prevention stakeholders as National Safe Digging Month. There are millions of miles of buried utilities beneath the surface of the earth that are vital to everyday living like water, electricity and natural gas. Disrupting these utilities can stop various utility services, as well as present serious safety hazards. The call before you dig process consists of 5 easy steps:

  1. Notify your local one call center by calling 811 (or making an online request) 2-3 days before work begins. This lead time may vary from state to state; therefore, visit call811.com to locate the rules for your state.
  2. Wait the required amount of time for affected utility operators to respond to your request.
  3. Confirm that all affected utility operators have responded to your request and marked underground utilities.
  4. Respect the marks or markers.
  5. Dig carefully around the marks with care.

TransCanada, a leader in the responsible development and reliable operation of North American energy infrastructure, is a proud partner of the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. Recently, TransCanada created an underground utilities safety module for youth, which focuses on two main objectives: The importance of calling 811 before you dig in the United States (and the importance of call or click before you dig in Canada) and pipeline leak recognition and response. The complete module, including curriculum, an interactive display, scratch & sniff cards and children’s activity booklets are available for coordinators use at their local Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®.

Kids love to dig, so it is never too early to teach them about 811 and the importance of safe digging. At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® throughout North America, activities designed to reinforce underground utilities safety is taught using verbal, visual and hands-on learning opportunities.  These safety tips are examples of what children & families learn when they attend a Safety Day. To date, more than 1.4 million children & adults have been impacted by a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in their local community. Learn more about the program at www.progressiveag.org

Photo: At a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® held in Alabama, participants learn about underground utilities safety and the importance of calling 811 before you dig.

Can Your Child Spot the Difference? Look-a-Like Poisons Pose Dangers to Young Children

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

For young children that cannot read labels, many products around the home can look like popular cndy or drinks. Even products that can be good for you, like vitamins and medicines, can become harmful if you do not follow thChemical Safetye label directions.

In the U.S., poisoning is now the leading cause of unintentional injury death, and nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs according to the NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics). In 2012, unintentional poisonings were the leading cause of injury death in the U.S. surpassing motor vehicle crashes.

Here are some common poison look-a-likes you may find around your home:

  1. Gummy Bears vs. Gummy Vitamins
  2. Chocolate vs. Laxatives
  3. Sports Drinks & Juice vs. Household Cleaners & Mouthwash
  4. Candy vs. Laundry or Dishwasher Pods
  5. Gum vs. Nicotine Gum
  6. Water vs. Bleach or Rubbing Alcohol
  7. Shredded Beef Jerky vs. Chewing Tobacco
  8. Kraft Parmesan Cheese Container vs. Comet Cleanser Container
  9. Toothpaste vs. bathtub caulking
  10. Eye Drops vs. Superglue

Chemical safety is a very popular topic taught at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® and was offered at more than 200 events throughout 2014. During Safety Days, participants learn they should never touch or put anything in their mouth unless they are positive what it is or unless a trusted adult tells them it is safe. As parents, grandparents and caring adults, it is our responsibility to be proactive in keeping children safe. Be sure to:

  • Label harmful products and place them out of reach of children
  • Avoid moving poisons or chemicals from their original container
  • Lead by example and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when handling chemicals
  • Keep the telephone number of the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) in a place easy to locate in case of an emergency.

These chemical safety tips are examples of what children & families learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® offered throughout North America. To date, more than 1.4 million children & adults have been impacted by a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in their local community. Learn more about the program at www.progressiveag.org

Photo: At a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® held last year in Minnesota, participants learn that many liquids, powders and tablets in your home or on a farm look like things we eat or drink on a regular basis. Children learn a variety of safety lessons including the importance of properly identifying anything they touch or put in their mouth.