A series of day camps will be offered across Ohio to teach school children about farm hazards and how to avoid injury. The camps, sponsored by Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, are designed to offer youth real-world experience and emphasize farm safety.

While farm safety is important year-round, spring marks the kickoff of the Ohio Farm Safety Day Camp season, said Kathy Mann, an OSU Extension program coordinator in agricultural safety and health. Each year, some 2,000 youths statewide learn how to protect themselves from dangerous situations that can occur on or near farms, she said.

"These camps teach youth about the hazards on the farm through educational sessions that focus on rural safety," Mann said. "The issue is very important for Ohio farmers, considering that statewide, 33 youths under the age of 20 were involved in farm-related fatalities from 2001 to 2010."

The camps will cover such issues as why there are rules on the farm, how quickly equipment and livestock react, and what to do in emergency situations, she said.

Special emphasis will be placed on teaching all-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety, Mann said. The camps will teach children the national ATV safety message of "Ride Right": ride the right size ATV, wear the right gear, and ride on the right terrain.

This is significant, considering Ohio ranks 13th nationwide in ATV-related fatalities, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission annual report.

"Through this specialized effort, the program sponsors believe that this ranking can be reduced," Mann said.

The day camps are free, with some being open to the public and others offered to school districts for school trips, Mann said.

Camp dates, locations and contacts are:

Morrow County: May 11 at the Morrow County Fairgrounds. The camp is open to school groups only. ContactBecky Barker, an OSU Extension educator, at 419-947-1070.

Fulton County: May 11 at 4-H Camp Palmer. The camp is open to school groups only. ContactBill Goodson, camp director, at 419-237-2247.

Auglaize County: May 17 at theFour Seasons Recreation Complex and Park. The camp is open to school groups only. ContactDon and Lois Baumer, Farm Bureau volunteers, at 419-628-3420.

Muskingum County: June 8 at the Muskingum County Fairgrounds. The camp is open to the public for students in grades 4-6. Contact the Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District at 740-454-2767.

Ross County: In August, with the date and location still to be determined. This camp will be open to the community, with ages still to be determined. Contact Kathy Mann, 614-292-0622, for more information.

Monroe County: At a date to be determined at Powhatan Elementary School. The camp will be open to school groups only. Contact Bruce Zimmer, an OSU Extension educator, at 740-472-0810 for more information.