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Child safety on farms

Featuring Kylie Stretton, mother of two children who runs cattle near Charters Towers and is a big advocate for child safety.

G'day, I'm Shane Webcke, WorkSafe Ambassador for WorkSafe Queensland and I'm with Kylie Stretton from Charters Towers, who today is going to talk about what she sees or views as a safe way to involve your kids in farm work on your property

So, what are the more pertinent things do you think.

Obviously four wheelers, motorbikes are a big issue so we have some rules around those. Children don't go mustering on four wheelers, they're not allowed to ride them. You know, only very occasionally, but not, you know in general.

Water safety is a big one obviously, drownings is a big issue. So we've always had ground rules if we have had a dam close to the house we're living in, they're not allowed to leave the house yard. We've always had a secure house yard.

Chemicals are always locked up, vehicle safety, knowing where your kids are when you're moving vehicles.

Just every day, common day things but because your kids are in your workplace all the time, you've got to have them in the back of your mind constantly.

Well see, and that would be a pertinent difference to say people living in suburbia. There are enough dangers around there, but as you rightly say, like on a property the workplace is straight out the back door, isn't it.

Yeah.

So is it a matter of to, like, I've got young kids myself and we go to the property. But one thing I find, you just have to be is vigilant. In terms of knowing where they are and not getting complacent about normalising behaviour where they're disappearing, or where have they gone.

Yeah, that's right and kids are a part of your workforce when you live out on a property or on a farm.

Of course they are!

Yeah, they are, they become a part of your workforce. Mum has to go back to work very quickly after having kids. So when they get to that toddler stage the kids are always there, you can't just keep them locked away. So you do have to have it in the back of your mind, you have to be vigilant, you have to teach your children from a young age to listen to instructions very carefully and if you say stop they must stop quickly and things like that.

Well how do you deal with, because I was a young boy who grew up on a property and there's an age where, we as young men believe we know a lot more than we do, how do you manage that transition, how would you think to best manage that transition where young boys grow up particularly, young girls as well, start to really want to pull on jobs that are you know, perhaps require a little bit more experience, a little bit more dangerous. Maybe where they don't see the danger.

Yeah, we're getting to that stage now with my kids, they're thirteen and eleven and I've been pretty lucky my young fella has been pretty steady and that, but just instilling in them from a young age to be responsible, talk about the dangers but let them get that experience under your watchful eye so that you don't just throw them out there by themselves unsupervised and expect them to be able to do something easily.

So it's involving them all the time from a young age so that when it is time for them to take that step they've got that experience, they've got that knowledge and the confidence themselves that they can do this in a safe, responsible manner.

There's a good point in case where I think is where you talk about quad bikes, the one thing, if you listen to manufacturers and people that advocate for safety on them, one of the biggest things is that they are so heavy when kids use them, so kids should not be on adult sized bikes. But obviously they're very easy to ride so kids feel that they can ride them without understanding what happens if they actually roll over on top of them.

Yeah, and that was an issue we faced when our children were little. We had a child sized quad bike and they used to go really silly on that and that was my big concern that they thought they could get away with anything on that little bike, they'd jump on ours and try and do the same thing. So we actually got away with that little quad bike and we've put them on two wheelers and it was just instilled that they are dangerous, they do roll, you can kill yourself.

And they have been really good about it. So that was the one thing for us.

Okay, to finish with what's your golden rule, the one unbreakable rule?

Just be responsible and look after each other, they go everywhere in a pair and look after each other.

Thank you very much Kylie.

RUN TIME: 3 min 53 sec