The Ellis County Farm Bureau is joining the Ellis County Commissioners Court, the Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Companies and the National Safety Council in promoting accident prevention during Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 16-23.

Agriculture is the second most dangerous industry in the United States, according to a press release from the Farm Bureau, which notes 710 deaths and 110,000 disabling injuries were reported in 2004.

The theme for this year’s national event is “Keep Kids Away from Tractors, It’s Easier to Bury a Tradition than a Child” with a focus on the importance of protecting the lives and livelihood of farmers and ranchers.

In coordination with the National Safety Council, the Farm Bureau is reminding parents on farms and ranches about the following.

Extra rider incidents are still a problem and parents and guardians should voluntarily prohibit children from being an extra rider on farm tractors. Children riding along on a tractor can be severely injured or killed if they fall off of the tractor.

The National Safety Council and Farm Bureau also want to remind everyone that a farm is not a playground.

“Kids may love to explore the farm from pillar to post, but climbing can be a dangerous activity, especially around equipment and buildings,” according to the release. “Remind children not to play around equipment … a curious child may find equipment left in gear with the keys in the ignition. Also, warn your adventurers about the risks of climbing on a grain bin. Kids can play safely in designated areas on the farm without climbing into trouble.”

Chemicals and children are a deadly combination and the National Safety Council and Farm Bureau warn parents to keep pesticides and other toxins secured and away from youngsters.

Children need to be reminded that chemical storage areas are off limits and not play areas and people need to immediately clean and dispose of any containers after using toxic chemicals.

Just because a child is interested in farm work does not mean they should be allowed to participate in farm tasks.

“It is important for your child to have both the physical and cognitive skills necessary to safely complete a farm task,” according to the release. “Make sure the tasks that you assign your child are age and developmentally appropriate. Children should always receive training before they are allowed to do a task. Even with training, adult supervision should be present at all times.”

Children and youth are at increased risk for injury and death for many other reasons and most of these reasons stem from copying what they see adults do on the farm or ranch, according to the release, which asks parents to set a good example and help to keep kids safe.

Ellis County Farm Bureau is funding a Farm Safety 4 Just Kids chapter in response to previous tragedies and the need for farm safety education.

Ellis County Farm Safety 4 Just Kids will hold a Farm Safety Day Camp for families and students at the Ellis County Livestock Show in March.

For more information, call (214) 335-8425.