By Joyce Simones, RN, MS
PPAT, Region 13
When members of the Central Minnesota Chapter-AACN (CMAC) identified farm safety for children as an important health issue in their community, they took action. They put together information and educational materials to present in a variety of settings.
Several of the nurses who live on farms expressed concerns not only about the safety of their own children but for children who visit families or friends on a farm. In the ICU, critical care nurses in the area often treat farm accident victims who are children.
In their search for materials to use for community education, chapter members located a child-sized gravity box at the Farm Safety 4 Just Kids organization. It is used to demonstrate the risks of getting sucked into the grain and suffocating. Posters of machinery, animals, and electrical equipment depicted proper ways to respect the items commonly found on a farm. In addition, packets containing farm puzzles and coloring books of farm pictures were compiled for children. An information sheet listing readily accessible phone numbers was included for adults.
The chapter’s first presentation on children’s farm safety took place at the annual health fair in a local shopping center. All exhibits at this fair, which was devoted to child health and safety, were required to be interactive. An area was set up where children could play with miniature machinery and animals. In addition, children could unload the gravity box to see how a child could get trapped when the grain is emptied. The exhibit, staffed by various critical care nurses, was open 8 hours. More than 200 packets were distributed to children.
The second presentation on children’s farm safety took place at a local school’s health fair. Hundreds of children—one class at a time—visited the chapter’s exhibit. (Critical care nurses also staffed other exhibits focusing on issues such as diabetes, bicycle helmet safety, and sun safety.)
A presentation was also planned at a farm implement dealer’s open house, which attracted farm customers and their families throughout the region. The community has positively regarded critical care nurses as advocates for child safety.