Farm Safety For Children: Emergency Action on the Farm - What Parents and Grandparents Can Teach Children

  • Bean, Thomas;
  • Wojtowicz, Jennifer

Agriculture is the most hazardous industry in the United States. Accidents occur frequently with both adults and children. Thus, it is important that children, as well as adults, know how to handle emergency situations. Basic life-saving principles that parents can share with their children are discussed in the following sections.

The most fundamental lesson parents and grandparents should teach children is how to contact emergency assistance. This may seem trivial, but it can make the difference between life and death. Parents and grandparents can review the following steps with children. Note: It is very important that children know where they live and how to get to their home!

In addition to the emergency number for your area, children should know the poison control number. Family members should also know where other members of the family are working and what time they are expected to return. If they are not home by the expected time, someone should look for them. Many accident victims could have been saved if help would have arrived sooner.


It is essential that children know that they should not enter a silo or grain bin to rescue another person. If someone is caught in one of these structures and a child enters, then they too can become trapped. The child does need to know how to turn off an operating auger and turn on a fan, if one is present, and then get assistance.

The same principle applies to manure dangers. If someone enters a manure storage area and is overcome by the gases, a child or adult should not enter the area to rescue the person. Instead, the child should call the fire department so proper breathing equipment can be brought to rescue the person.


Children should be taught where and how to turn off all farm machinery. If a person becomes entangled, a child could save his/her life by turning off the equipment and then getting help.


Parents and grandparents should remind children to be very cautious and alert when around any animal on the farm. Children need to be aware of their location so they do not end up behind an animal and get stepped on or kicked. Running or screaming around animals can cause the animal to become spooked, which could lead to injury to a child. Children also need to be warned to stay away from any farm animal with its young. A new mother can quickly turn on a child if she feels her young are threat ned.


Very often it is a family member who is the first on the scene of a farm accident. If this person knows how to properly respond to the emergency situation it could mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, any time spent learning first-aid is time well spent.


FIRST: Go to the nearest telephone

SECOND: Dial the emergency number

THIRD: When someone answers, they will need to know:

  • Where you are - be very specific - give the exact location; give any landmarks, names of streets, intersections or rural route number (Have your house number clearly posted!)
  • Your Name
  • How many people are hurt
  • The condition of the people hurt

FOURTH: Do not hang up until you ask if you should!



The following is a review of the basic steps required to perform Rescue Breathing & CPR. Note: It is strongly suggested that parents, grandparents and children take a CPR and first-aid course. For more information, contact your county office of Ohio State University's Cooperative Extension Service or the health department in your county.

American Red Cross Rescue Breathing/CPR

  1. Check for unresponsiveness.
    • Does the victim respond?
    • Tap or gently shake the victim (see Figure 1).
    • Ask "Are you O.K.?" If there is no response shout, "Help!"
  2. Position the victim.
    • Roll victim on back if necessary (see Figure 2).
    • Roll victim towards you as a single unit; as you roll victim, support the back of head and neck (see Figure 3).
  3. Open the airway.
    • Place your hand - the one nearer victim's head - on victim's forehead.
    • Place 2 fingers of other hand under bony part of lower jaw near chin.
    • Tilt head and lift jaw. Avoid closing victim's mouth (See Figure 4).

  4. Check for breathlessness.
    • Place your ear over victim's mouth and nose.
    • Look at chest, listen and feel for breathing for 3 to 5 seconds (See Figure 5).
  5. Give 2 full breaths.
    • Pinch nose shut.
    • Open your mouth wide, take a deep breath and make a tight seal around outside of victim's mouth.
    • Give 2 full breaths. Look for chest to rise and fall. Listen and feel for escaping air (See Figure 6).
  6. Check for carotid pulse.
    • Locate Adam's apple with middle and index fingers of other hand.
    • Slide fingers down into groove of neck on side closer to you.
    • Feel for carotid pulse for 5 to 10 seconds (See Figure 7).
  7. Phone EMS for help.
    • Tell someone to call for an ambulance.
  8. Begin rescue breathing.
    • Give 1 breath every 5 seconds.
    • Continue for 1 minute - about 12 breaths (See Figure 8).
  9. Recheck carotid pulse.
  10. What to do next:
    • If pulse is absent, begin chest compressions.
    • If pulse is present but victim still not breathing, continue rescue breathing.
    • If victim begins to breathe, maintain open airway, and monitor breathing until EMS arrives.
  11. CPR:
  12. Locate compression position.
    • Kneel, facing victim's chest.
    • With middle and index fingers of hand, locate lower edge of victim's rib cage on side closer to you.
    • Slide fingers up edge of rib cage to notch at lower end of breastbone (See Figure 9).
    • Place middle finger in notch, and index finger next to it on the lower end of breastbone (See Figure 10).
    • Place heel of hand nearer victim's head on breastbone next to index finger of hand used to find notch (See Figure 11).
    • Place heel of hand used to locate notch directly on top of heel of other hand (See Figure 12).

    • Position shoulders over hands, with elbows locked and arms straight (See Figure 13).
    • Give 15 chest compressions (See Figure 14).
    • Compress breastbone 1 inch to 2 inches (15 compressions should take 9 to 11 seconds).
    • Give 2 full breaths
    • Do compression/breathing cycles (See Figure 15).

    • Do 3 cycles of 15 compressions and 2 breaths.
    • Recheck carotid pulse
    • Give 2 full breaths
    • Continue compression/breathing cycles

  13. What to do next.
    • If there is still no pulse, continue CPR.
    • If pulse returns, check breathing.
    • If victim is not breathing, begin rescue breathing.
    • If victim is breathing, monitor until EMS arrives

SOURCE American Red Cross. American Red Cross Standard First Aid.

Publication #: AEX-991.2

This document is a series of the Ohio State University Extension, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Publication date: October 1992. Funded in whole or in part from Grant Number U05/CCU506070-02, "Cooperative Agreement Program for Agricultural Health Promotion Systems," National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Supported in part by project #MCH394001-02-1 from the Emergency Medical Services for Children program, Health Resources and Service Administration Department of Health a d Human Services.

Thomas L. Bean, Safety Leader; Jennifer Wojtowicz, Graduate Assistant, Ohio State University Extension, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Reviewed by Dr. Randall Wood, Dr. Sue Nokes and Mr. Ron Clason, Department of Agricultural Engineering, Ohio State University Extension.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More