I dropped in on Safety Days today, held at the Mount Hope Auction yards.
Most of the hundreds in attendance were Amish. People slowly filed by educational booths promoting early learning, fire safety, and eye care. One fireman admonished listeners to ‘label their liquids’ since children could not tell the difference between potables and more lethal liquids such as kero or diesel.
Besides the useful information, parents and kids could pick up freebies which included suckers and tootsie rolls. The highlight of the evening was an ‘educational mock crash’ which was meant to involve a tractor and a life flight. Unfortunately I had to leave just as the crowd was gathering to watch.
Once of my few criticisms of the Amish is that with such large families, toddlers and crawlers may be left in the care of brothers and sisters sometimes only a few years older. Little kiddos, accustomed to hanging around dad in the shop, can hurt themselves pretty easily with tools and horses and barbed-wire fences around.
Farm life, especially, can be tough. I remember watching a little girl trundle around barefooted on a rusted, sharp-edged tin roof this summer in Pennsylvania. Would my mom have let me anywhere near that type of situation? No chance. As one Lancaster farmer put it, quite frankly: ‘the farm is a great place to raise a family. But it is a dangerous place’.
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It’s not that I think Amish are intentionally negligent of their kids’ safety. I think that, especially on farms and in big families, it’s just one of those things that is accepted as a part of life. In any case, it was nice to see so many people interested in the event tonight.