'Invisible line' keeps kids safe

Gippsland dairy farmers focus on keeping children safe on farm

Safe Hands
SAFETY FIRST: Mark Hammond with daughter Amber on their Gippsland farm, where the family has clear rules to keep the children safe.

SAFETY FIRST: Mark Hammond with daughter Amber on their Gippsland farm, where the family has clear rules to keep the children safe.

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A Victorian dairy farming couple focus on keeping their children safe on farm with rules and awareness.

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Gippsland dairy farmer Trish Hammond regularly reminds her young children about the importance of safety on her 650-cow farm at Labourtouche, Victoria.

"When we are out on the farm, the kids are with us as well - and this means we take the time to keep them safe," she said.

"At the dairy, kids are always exposed to safety hazards, but we have a number of rules in place to make sure they stay safe."

Trish and husband Mark have been dairy farming for eight years and their three children - Dane, 11, Amber, 9 and Lara, 7, - have grown up on-farm.

Mindful of potential safety risks, the children are not allowed in the dairy without a parent present, and children and visitors are supervised at all times.

"We're very close to a road, and my fear has always been that the kids will venture off, so we put in place an 'invisible line' the kids are not allowed to cross - they know the places on the farm that are out of bounds," Mrs Hammond said.

Before heading out in the paddock with their parents, Dane, Amber and Lara are reminded to be careful around the herd and never go near the effluent ponds.

"Sometimes, kids do come out into the paddocks with us but we spend a fair bit of time with them, talking about how cows can be volatile and teaching them about animal behaviour," Mrs Hammond said.

"The kids always know never to get close to a cow and they are always watching the distance between them and the animal.

"Effluent ponds are also off limits - they are no-go zones and the kids have grown up knowing the ponds are absolutely out of bounds."

Mrs Hammond received high visibility Legendairy vests for her children at a Women in Dairy event hosted by Dairy Australia Regional Development Program GippsDairy last year.

The children wear the vests on farm to boost their visibility and encourage greater safety awareness.

With milk tankers and other vehicles often coming and going from the farm at odd hours, the vests help ensure the children are clearly visible to drivers.

"You don't always know when a truck will turn up but with the kids wearing high-vis vests, a truck can always spot them and they are always in our sight," she said.

Related reading:

This story first appeared on Australian Dairyfarmer

The story 'Invisible line' keeps kids safe first appeared on Farm Online.

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