Don’t Be Coy about the Safety of a Toy this Holiday Season

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

Now that Black Friday has come and gone, the holiday shopping season is well underway.  As we countdown the days until holiday parties and time spent with family and friends, the little ones in our life are anxiously awaiting their chance to open up the freshly wrapped packages. Whether big or small, toys are always a favorite among many children; however, placing extra thought into toy safety should always be a priority during purchase.

On the positive side of shopping safely this holiday season, toys in the stores are much safer today according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In 2016, there were only 24 recalls and only one involved lead compared to 2008 when there were 172 recalls with 19 involving lead. Although toy recalls are on the decline, there are still hazardous items you will want to avoid when selecting the perfect gift for small children such as magnets, button batteries, balloons, or toys with small parts.

In addition to keeping safety in mind when selecting the perfect toy, continue the safety message with children by following these five safety tips:

  1. Remind children to put their toys away to avoid trips and falls. Toys can pose a danger to anyone when left on stairs, doorways and other high traffic areas around the home. Be sure to fix or discard broken toys to avoid accidental injury from damaged parts or sharp edges.
  2. Always read the directions that come with a toy together as a family, so everyone is on the same page and knows the necessary precautions. Even age-appropriate toys, such as sewing, baking or science kits, often require adult supervision.
  3. Teach older youth to role model safe toy behavior by always keeping tiny toys out of reach for younger children.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings when playing with toys that fly. Assure you do not injure an unsuspecting person or destroy another person’s property while at play.
  5. Ensure bicycles, scooters and ride-on toys are sturdy & stable. Follow-up with proper safety equipment like knee pads, elbow pads and helmets. Be certain that helmets are fitted correctly and that the child wears them each and every time they ride.

16-1584_hiddenhazards_3518This safety message was brought to you by the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® teach children in rural communities about potential hazards around the home, ranch or farm and help them adopt new, safe practices. For more information on safety or for details about hosting, donating or volunteering at a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®, visit or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. Be part of more than 400 Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® offered annually throughout North America.

Photo: At Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® like this event in Pennsylvania, various toys are used in a safe manner to demonstrate hidden hazards that can be found around the home, ranch or farm.


Take the Stress out of Traveling this Holiday Season

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

They say, “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” For some, home is a short drive, while for others it can be a long trip. As the holiday season approaches, planning travel to visit family and friends can lead to added stress and anxiety. From selecting the best method of travel to worrying about weather conditions, several factors can make planning your trip a challenge. To help keep stress levels low and excitement levels high, careful planning can help you prepare for whatever comes your way.

Let’s make sure your holiday season is filled with special memories and cherished traditions. Follow these five tips to avoid additional stress and ensure safety is kept in mind all the time while you travel.

  1. Check the weather. No matter if traveling by air, rail or car, the weather can cause unexpected changes to your plans. Allow time to leave earlier if needed, so you do not feel rushed and can account for delays and detours.11-718_roadwaysafety_3412
  2. Stay healthy and avoid the spread of germs. In both preparation for and during your travel, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Wash your hands frequently and carry hand sanitizer for when you cannot get to soap and water. Pack medications to prepare if a cold or flu arises during your trip, so you are not frantically seeking a pharmacy.
  3. Assure your vehicle is travel ready. If traveling by car, start out with a full tank of gas and make a stop at your local auto shop to ensure your car is ready for the journey with properly inflated tires, functional breaks and working headlights. Pack both a first aid kit and disaster supply kit including blankets, flashlights and batteries to use in the event of an emergency. Give the road your full attention when driving and avoid distractions such as cell phones, eating or fidgeting with the radio or other settings. Always make sure everyone in the car wears their seat belt.
  4. Stop and stretch. Whether sitting for long periods of time on an airplane or in the car, moving around is important. If traveling by car, frequent rest stops can help give you a break from driving and help you stay alert.
  5. Alert others of your travel plans. It is important to keep others in the loop of your travel plans, including your route, so they know when to expect you and where you are at all times. However, be careful what you post publicly on social media to protect your home from intruders while away.

This safety message was brought to you by the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. For more information on safety or details to host, donate or volunteer at a local Progressive Agriculture Safety Day in your community, visit or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529. Since 1995, more than 1.5 million children and adults have been impacted by our program.

Photo: Numerous safety and health topics, including roadway safety, are taught at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® throughout North America.

Proven Safety Day Success in Fire Prevention

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

fire-safety-pic-from-imperial-neProgressive Agriculture Safety Day® Coordinator, Chris Tomky, had no idea the impact her May 18th Safety Day in Imperial, Nebraska would have on the community. Since Tomky began hosting Safety Days for her local community, fire safety has always been an important lesson taught each year. Tomky credits the support of the Imperial Volunteer Fire Department and the donation of fire extinguishers from Tri-State Fire Extinguisher, a local business, to ensure participants learn a variety of fire safety tips. Through one-on-one, hands-on education, all Safety Day participants learn how to use a fire extinguisher.

This year, Tomky went from a community Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® to a school event with Chase County Public Schools for children in Kindergarten through sixth grade. Eleven year old participant, JD Tuller, put the information he gained to use this summer when he witnessed a fire at a neighbor’s home. According to Imperial Fire Chief, Nick Schultz, Tuller’s quick actions and proper use of a fire extinguisher was crucial in keeping the fire contained to the porch.

Both fire extinguishers and smoke detectors play a vital role in saving lives. Each October, the National Fire Protection Association leads efforts in fire prevention. During October 9th – 15th, we celebrate Fire Prevention Week and bring awareness to a variety of areas dealing with fire safety. This year’s theme, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” represents the final year of a three-year effort to educate the public about basic but essential elements of smoke alarm safety. For the safety of you and your family, here are three tips related to smoke detectors:

  1. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
  2. Make sure you know how old all the smoke alarms are in your home.
  3. To find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm; the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.

In addition to homes, smoke detectors are just as important to farms and ranches and should be monitored in the same manner. Fire extinguishers should be accessible in barns and on farm equipment. Families should prepare for a fire and work together on creating a fire evacuation plan for their home and farm.

Last year, fire safety was the top lesson taught at Progressive Agriculture Safety Days®. Help lead the crusade to bring safety and health information to your community by hosting a Safety Day. Visit or call us toll-free at 888-257-3529 for more information or to apply. Since 1995, more than 1.5 million children and adults have been impacted by the Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program.

Photo: A participant at a 2016 Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® in Imperial, Nebraska learns how to properly use a fire extinguisher. More than 65% of Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® in North America offer a lesson on fire safety each year.


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 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 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 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.