Full Service Westside
Middle school provides a wonderful time for children to start becoming more independent and to explore the world around them for themselves. However, greater freedom also means more opportunities for kids to get into dangerous situations. To help students learn how to stay safe in many environments, Bayer hosted its sixth annual Farm Safety Day on Tuesday, April 9th.
On Bayer Farm Safety Day, Bayer welcomed students from both Central and West Middle Schools in Muscatine to learn hands on about hazards they might encounter at home, on a farm, or while outside in general. Approximately seventy-three volunteers from Bayer and thirty-five Muscatine High School (MHS) agriculture students worked together to create a number of stations featuring different activities to help students develop the safety skills they will need to protect themselves as they grow up.
To help students understand and avoid dangerous situations on farms, volunteers from Bayer let students simulate how much force it takes to rescue someone from a grain bin. Similarly, several MHS agriculture students talked to the sixth graders about the importance of tractor safety and the need to stay away from the powertrain on lawnmowers, manure spreaders, tractors, and lawnmowers. To illustrate these dangers, the MHS agriculture students put a straw dummy in a loose shirt next to a manure spreader and then turned it on, showing how quickly the dummy got caught and completely torn to shreds. Finally, several students from the MHS FFA program talked to the younger students about animal safety using their fair animals to help them demonstrate.
While not every Muscatine sixth grader spends time on a farm, all of them spend time at home, so Bayer Farm Safety Day volunteers took the time to help students identify household hazards and how to navigate them as well. To educate kids about fires and fire prevention, volunteers from the Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines showed students how to cook safely. They then created a small-scale smoke-filled environment for them to witness how it feels to get caught in a house fire, and for them to practice escaping through the window of a burning building. Other Bayer volunteers showed kids how to use a fire extinguisher. To round out the home safety portion, other volunteers taught students about hand, electrical, and chemical look alike safety, and let students identify and explain how to handle common household safety issues.
To round out the day’s events, students participated in activities that helped them learn about car and outdoor safety. By watching a crash simulator (nicknamed the seat belt convincer) kids observed for themselves just how badly hurt they can get in even a low speed crash if they do not wear a seat belt. For an even more persuasive experience, kids got to suit up in goggles mimicking the effects of drug and alcohol use and then try to drive a pedal cart. By experiencing the struggle on a small, safe course, students saw why drugs and driving or riding along do not mix. To top it off, students could try the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and Mercy Hospital Iowa City’s skin damage detecting light to see how even common outdoor activities require the use of appropriate safety measures.
Looking back over the events of Bayer Farm Safety Day, Chris Boar, Community Outreach Coordinator for Bayer, felt the day’s demonstrations had gone well and offered a lot to Muscatine’s sixth graders. “It’s a great opportunity to focus on safety. A lot of it is ag safety, but some of it is home safety too. A lot of [children] don’t realize some of the dangers until they learn about them hands on. At this age, they sometimes feel invincible. We try to catch them young so that they carry [what they learned] throughout their lives.” With such powerful and even enjoyable presentations and activities, Bayer Farm Safety Day will leave a lasting positive impact on all the students who attended it.
Full Service Westside