(ARA) - The change of seasons from the warm summer months to the fall harvest season is one of the most beautiful times on the farm. Crops are in full swing, fruit is abundant and families often make annual trips to local farms and festivals during this time. Whether you live on a farm or plan on visiting one, now is the perfect time to remind children about important safety tips for working and playing around equipment.

Each year more than 15,000 children who visit, live or work on farms or ranches are injured, and more than 100 children die of agriculture-related injuries in the United States alone, according to the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. With staggering statistics like these, it's time to make a change by developing a "safety first" attitude for you and your entire family.

"Playing and working around equipment is second nature for some older youth, but no matter how carefree they may feel, equipment is meant for experienced adult operators. Children of all ages need to be extremely careful around any type of equipment," says Greg Embury, vice president of sales and marketing for Kubota Tractor Corp. "The change of seasons means it is a good time to talk safety, and we encourage parents to regularly sit down and remind kids that tractors, lawn and garden equipment and utility vehicles are tools and not toys."

Talking to your family about adopting a "safety first" attitude

With youth safety in mind, Kubota Tractor Corporation offers the following tips to help equipment owners and operators start the safety conversation with kids:

* Stop, look and listen when playing outside, especially on the farm, and always be aware of your surroundings.

* Farm equipment is not safe to ride on even when an adult is present.

* Tractors are not toys. They are powerful machines only to be used by adults who are thoroughly familiar with the equipment.

* Children should never ride on a tractor; a tractor only has one seat and that seat is intended for the operator. Just say "no" if someone wants to give you a ride. It is not safe to be a rider when the tractor is intended for one operator.

* Stay out of the path of all moving equipment. And, stand far away from a tractor when it is being started, when it is running and especially when it is working.

* Never stand behind a tractor - whether it is running or not - the operator might not see you and you could get hurt.

* Be a "safety first sheriff" and encourage use of seatbelts for your entire family. Just like in a car, a tractor is equipped with a seatbelt for safety. Additionally, a Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS) on a tractor is in place to protect the driver.

Other ways to get involved include participating in local education programs. The Progressive Agriculture Foundation holds a Safety Day education program designed to make safety education and training available for children year-round. Now in its 17th year, the program will conduct more than 410 Safety Day events in 2011 across the U.S. and Canada. To find a safety program near you, visit www.ProgressiveAg.org.

More information about safety including Kubota's "Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety," a safety podcast and a downloadable tractor safety coloring book can be found at the Kubota website: www.kubota.com.Avoid youth equipment accidents: Develop a 'safety first' attitude
Category: Automotive