Children and animals

Children get great enjoyment from farm life and naturally gravitate towards animals. However, animals can cause serious injuries and children need to be taught the dangers of being around livestock and other animals. This is not only important for children who live on farms, but also children who visit the farms of friends or family.

Animals on farms are one of the key consistent hazards causing fatal and non-fatal injuries to children. Horses are a leading cause of injury on farms; at particular risk are young girls. It is important children ride and handle horses that are appropriate for their age and size and must always wear a helmet. If children care for or are around livestock, or large animals, make sure they know to always be watchful, respectful and teach them about animal behaviour. Children should also be taught how to behave around working dogs and understand that they can behave different to pet dogs. It is also important to be alert and aware of snakes in the warmer months.

Find out more about this topic on Better Health Channel

Read more about child safety on farms

Fast facts:

  • Teach children to be alert and watchful around livestock, especially if they are caring for animals.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding horses.
  • Be aware of and always supervise working dogs around children.

References used for this topic page

More information:

Children on farms

Farmsafe Australia
Child safety on farms

Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne
Safety: Farms and rural property

Research & reviews:

Australian Journal of Rural Health
Protecting the future: Fatal incidents on Australian farms involving children (2001-2019)