Death of a five-year-old a sad reminder of the importance of farm safety |

Death of a five-year-old a sad reminder of the importance of farm safety

Amanda Radke
for Tri-State Livestock News

A five-year-old girl was from Kansas was killed on Oct. 24 in a farming accident in Dickinson County. According to reports, Brooklyn Debenham was riding in a combine with her father. They hit a bump, the front glass of the cab broke, and Debenham fell through the front window into the combine head. She died in the field.

This tragedy was something that nobody could have guessed would happen or try to avoid, but needless to say, accidents do happen on the farm and ranch. With fall roundups and harvest well underway, this accident will serve as a good reminder for parents to hold their children close and to remember farm safety rules during this busy time of the year.

As the agriculture community mourns the loss of one of its little ones, here is a roundup of farm and ranch safety tips from Farm Safety For Just Kids.

According to Farm Safety For Just Kids, “A tractor motor has many moving parts. The moving parts can cut, pinch and crush body parts if not used properly. Fuel used to power the engine can explode causing a fire. Tractors that are very large can create a long fall if a person slips from the top of the machine. The power of a tractor is often transferred to another implement by way of a power take-off (PTO). The spinning shaft of the PTO creates a hazard if anyone gets too close.”

The same considerations hold true for combines. This time of year, producers spend a lot of time in both tractors and combines, and extra safety precautions can help avoid most accidents.

For families owning livestock, small children should be reminded to stay outside of the fences and never approach an animal alone, says Farm Safety For Just Kids. Understand the flight zones, vision and tendencies of horses and cattle.

“The ears are the messengers to what a horse is listening to, how they are feeling and what they might be thinking about doing,” says Farm Safety For Just Kids. “Ears that are forward and relaxed tell you that the horse is happy and not fearful. Ears that are directed behind them, but not pinned down to the neck, are listening to what is behind the horse. Ears that are pinned back close to the neck indicate that the horse is very mad and may possibly rebel or fight.”

Another thing to keep in mind is the proximity in which one handles or grooms an animal.

According to Farm Safety For Just Kids, “Staying up close to an animal is safer. When you are standing a couple feet away the animal’s kick can reach its full momentum and be very harmful. If you are close and the animal kicks, the impact is less. Stand very close to the animal when grooming or handling livestock. If you are not grooming or handling, stay far away from the animal’s reach. Remind children when working in close proximity to an animal, it’s kick cannot gain full momentum which reduces the amount of pressure of impact. It is safest to either stay well beyond the reach of the animal’s legs or in very close proximity.”

While some of these considerations may seem basic, it’s important for parents and children who live and work on farms and ranches to have a refresher course once in a while when it comes to safety. Of course, fluke accidents like what happened to Brooke Debenham can still happen, but by taking a little extra time and not getting in a hurry, fewer accidents on the farm and ranch might occur.