Save the Date: Join us Feb. 01, 2025, for “Danger Day”

Correct gear and training is always required.

Recent tragedies have rocked our community with youth being fatally injured outdoors. It is my highest priority to keep youth and adults safe when enjoying our outdoors and working on farms and ranches.

On Feb. 03, 2024, we held our 2nd Annual Youth Outdoor and Farm Safety Day. Thirty-two youth went through 10 stations and enjoyed a food truck, got close to animals and big equipment, and participated in other fun activities.

Top Ten Safety Tips

Ensuring the safety of youth outdoors in Florida is essential, given the state’s unique environment and potential risks. Here are ten important safety tips in rural areas.

Slow down when you see this sign. Slow down at all times when outdoors to consider risks.
  1. Be mindful of falls from ATVs, side-by-sides, tractors, bicycles, trees, hay bales and a hundred other sites. Extreme injury and death can occur in a split second. Move at a safe speed, wear protective gear, think ahead, have someone with you.
  2. Take all precautions when working with tractors, mowers, skid loaders and any equipment with moving parts. Read all safety information. Do not remove shields or safety placards. Do not ride equipment, if not safe. Turn equipment off when working on it.
  3. When working around domestic livestock, always be aware the animal might be startled or get agitated. A domestic animal may be overly friendly, leading to injury. Florida has diverse wildlife, including alligators. Keep a safe distance and never feed or approach wild animals.
  4. Understand warning signs and hand signals. They may mean the difference between life and death. When it is noisy use standard safety hand signals to communicate.
  5. Sun protection: Protect your skin from harsh sun by wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. Seek shade during peak sun hours, typically from 10 am to 4 pm. When struggling from heat exhaustion your decision-making ability is challenged compounding safety risks, like taking shortcuts and exposing yourself to wildlife or water risks.
  6. Bug repellent: Florida is home to various insects, including mosquitoes. Apply insect repellent to prevent insect-borne illnesses like West Nile virus or Zika virus.
  7. Proper attire: Wear lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for the weather and activity. Closed-toe shoes are advisable, especially in areas where snakes may be present or when working around heavy equipment.
  8. First Aid: If an incident occurs, we need to be prepared to provide support. Have a complete first aid kit available, and be trained on how to use it.
  9. Emergency contacts: Keep a fully charged phone with you, and share your location with a trusted friend or family member. Familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers and nearby facilities.
  10. Stay hydrated: Florida’s hot and humid climate can lead to dehydration. Always carry water and drink regularly. When you are dehydrated, you can make poor decisions that create more risks, like driving faster to get some water.

One-hundred youth die annually on farms and ranches in the United States. Florida has recorded 187 ag-related deaths in 2010-2019, with 15 fatalities for youth in that period, with several in Southwest Florida in just the last two years.

For more information on types of injuries and fatalities in Florida:

Promoting safety involves preparedness, knowledge, and respect for the environment and equipment. By following these tips, young people can enjoy their outdoor activities while minimizing risks and ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

Join us Feb 01, 2025, for our next Youth Ag Safety Day (to be renamed “DANGER DAY”). Serious education and fun activities do mix! Plus, lots of giveaways: wide-brim hats, T-shirts, hearing protection, eye protection, sunscreen and much more.

Spend a morning to save a life!




Rod Greder is a UF/IFAS Extension Agent at Sarasota County. He specializes in Sustainable Agriculture.
Posted: May 1, 2024

Category: Agriculture
Tags: Agriculture, ATV, Danger, Equipment, Injury, Livestock, Pgm_Ag, Risk, Rural, Safety, Youth

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