Children on Farms


  • A safe and secure play area for children should be provided away from all work activities, in full view of the dwelling house
  • Where children are not in a secure play area a high level of adult supervision must be provided
  • Children should not be allowed to access heights
  • Action should be taken to keep children away from dangerous areas
  • To eliminate the risk of drowning all open water tanks, wells and slurry tanks should be fenced off
  • Children should be given clear instruction on safety issues on the farm
  • Instruct children that are carried in the tractor cab to always wear seat belts


  • Identify and control particular dangers to children (e.g. tractor operation, slurry pits, falls)
  • Keep children away from dangerous areas (slurry pits, silage pits, grain /chemical stores, working machinery, high areas)
  • Children should not be allowed near dangerous animals such as bulls, stallions, rams, stags and female animals with new-born young
  • The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 require farmers to identify what work is suitable for children and what work is not suitable
  • Young children should not be allowed unsupervised access to the farmyard
  • Discuss with visitors and agricultural contractors
  • Make contractors aware of the possible presence of children
  • Organise training for young teenagers - tractor safety driving skills
  • Do not allow children under 14 to operate tractors or self-propelled machines
  • Only allow children over 14 to drive a tractor or self-propelled vehicle in line with legal requirements
  • When children have to be carried in the cab, it must be fitted with a properly designed and fitted passenger seat with seat belts

A child or young person aged 14 or over should only be permitted to drive a tractor or self-propelled machine on the farm, if:

  • they have attended a formal training course run by a competent training provider
  • they are closely supervised by a responsible adult
  • they have the ability to operate the controls with ease
  • all the controls are conveniently accessible for safe operation by the operator when seated in the driver's seat
  • the controls which operate the power take off (PTO) devices, hydraulic devices and engine cut-off are clearly marked to show the effect of their operation
  • the tractor is maintained so that it is safe for them to operate
  • the ground over which the tractor is driven is free from hazards such as steep slopes or excavations, river banks, lake or pond edges, deep ditches and similar areas

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Fatal Accidents

Deaths of Children on farms 2011-2020 (10% of all fatalities)



Children between the ages of 7 and 16 may ride on a tractor provided the tractor is fitted with a properly designed and fitted passenger seat (with seat belts) inside a safety cab or frame.

Under no circumstances should a child under 7 years of age be carried inside the cab of a tractor. (Irrespective of whether a passenger seat is provided or not).

On average between 2006 and 2015, 2 or 3 children were killed in farm accidents every year. The main causes of child fatal accidents are tractors/ machinery and drowning.

Adults have a huge responsibility to make sure that the risks posed to children on a farm are assessed and controls put in place to prevent death and injury. 

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