AS the Scottish schools begin to break up for the summer, NFU Scotland is reminding farmers and crofters of the dangers when allowing children onto and around farmland.

An accident on farm can be life changing, both for those involved and their family. It is even more devastating when it involves children, which is why the Union is urging farmers and crofters this summer to be extra vigilant and take every precaution to make their farms and crofts safer for children.

We all know how fantastic it can be to grow up on a farm, however, with the tragic death of several children on Scotland's farms in recent years, the Union says the industry needs to take action to stop further deaths and injury.

Farm Safety Partnership Scotland - a collaboration between NFUS, Health and Safety Executive and NFU Mutual - is working to significantly reduce the tragic toll on Scotland's farms and crofts each year.

NFUS President Andrew McCornick said: "Any death or injury on a farm is one too many, especially when it involves a child. We need to work together, as an industry, to make sure that we are constantly improving the safety on farms.

"It is so important that farmers and crofters are constantly looking at their farms and crofts and thinking about how they improve the safety, for themselves, their family, their workforce and any possible visitors.

"As someone who raised children on a farm I can say from experience that I believe there is no better place to have a childhood, which is why we need to ensure that these environments are as safe as they possibly can be. During the school holidays I urge farmers and crofters to be vigilant of children playing on their farms and to amend any safety issues which may need addressed."

Mr McCornick went on: "It's all too easy to cut corners to save time, but this can have serious, and sometimes fatal consequences. Please take care and make your safety, and that of those around you a priority."

Top tips for working safely with children on farms and crofts:

* A farmyard is not a playground so establish rules about what young people can and can't do on the farm.

* Keep children away from farm machinery and moving vehicles.

* Children under 13-years-old must not drive or operate tractors or other farm machinery.

* Children under 13-years-old must not ride as passengers on tractors, ATVs or other farm machinery'

* Ensure drivers have a clear view of corners and install mirrors to increase visibility if necessary.

* Make sure slurry pits and tanks are securely fenced and inaccessible to prevent children from getting near the area.