Creating Safe Play Areas on the Farm

Guest blog by Tracy Schlater, Marketing Director for Farm Safety 4 Just Kids

Children are naturally curious, especially younger children. There are certainly a lot of things to be curious about on the farm, but that curiosity can unknowingly lead children into dangerous places.  A safe play area is a great way to ensure the safety of kids on the farm.

Here are a few tips to help you establish a safe play area:

  • Separate from traffic and work areas.
  • Include easily identifiable boundaries. Fences are ideal.
  • Select an area that may be easily supervised, such as looking out a back window.
  • Keep it free from dangerous debris.
  • Provide plenty of room to run and explore.
  • Install safe and age-appropriate play equipment.

A fence provides a terrific boundary for safe play areas. Ron and Arianne Henry of Versailles, Ohio, won a $250 Successful Farming Farm Family grant to help cover the costs.

If you can’t fence the play area, use landmarks such as trees, bushes, a pole, or a driveway. Walk the boundary with your children. Explain that the boundary is important because it keeps them safe.  Make sure to explain the consequences of breaking the boundary rule. Keep in mind the boundary is only your first line of defense. Supervision is critical, and not just for play areas without a fence.

Give children reasons to stay in the identified play area. Play items like swings, a sand box, or playhouse make the play area appealing to children. If the farmstead is more enticing than the designated play area, your efforts may not be effective.  A safe, outdoor play area should be located away from livestock, traffic and machinery.

Let’s keep our next generation of rural children safe!  Celebrate Playground Safety Week, April 23-27, 2012, by taking a look around your farm and assessing what improvements can be made to create safe play areas for your children or grandchildren.   Resources to help you get started include:

Also keep in mind that Farm Safety 4 Just Kids awards $250 to 10 farm families to conduct safety projects on their farm.  Contact Shari Burgus, education director, for more information at or 515-331-6506 or 800-423-5437.