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  1. #1
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    Default Young Operators - How young is too young?

    While giving one of my boys a safety lesson in FEL work yesterday, I realized there are a whole lot of kids who grow up operating tractors. All my children are well versed in lawn tractor operation and safety, been mowing since about 12y.o., but this is a MUCH more dangerous machine. At what age do you get comfortable letting your kids on your big tractor?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Young Operators - How young is too young?

    if you think theyre up to it, go for it. theyre probably safest sitting in the seat anyway. As long as you think they can handle the power and can use the controls, are sensible in their actoins, and ofcourse you are happy to let them, let them use it. Its irrenlevant their physical age, its wether they are up to it.
    by all means draw the line at using PTO implements or whatever if you want to, but i think youll be OK.
    So whos gunna be the first to bite my head off for saying that?

  3. #3
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Young Operators - How young is too young?

    <font color="red"> but this is a MUCH more dangerous machine </font>

    It would be less dangerous if the ballast box were full of heavy material to act as an effective counterweight [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img].



    As for the age question, I really don't know but I would say at a Tractor/Loader could be operated by a 16yr old under some level of adult supervision. I'm thinking that I'd want to be outside with the kid and basically overseeing what they are doing while perhaps working on another part of the project. I think others might suggest a younger age, and I suppose it really depends on the child, the equipment and the land.

    My daughter started mowing the lawn last fall, but under strict observation (meaning I had to stand and direct her on what to do so it would have taken far less time if I had just done it myself). She is 10 years old. She is using a garden tractor to mow. I only let her mow one flat area and nothing else. I only let her mow the open area and not around the trees, fenceline, etc. I expect that about age 12 or 13 she'd be able to actually go out an mow the non-slope areas of the lawn without much supervision. But only with the garden tractor, not with one of the CUTs.


  4. #4
    Elite Member AlanB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Young Operators - How young is too young?

    I guess I am at the scary end of this equation. Our kids have operated equipment at very young ages.

    I guess I feel that it largely depends on the children that you are speaking about, their level of maturity and experience, and how level headed they are especially when things go wrong.

    It is always a tough call though......

    Looks like we are getting a Bobcat and my 8 year old son wants to drive.... Will probably let him in the right circumstance.

    While that may be crazy to some, I bet you can look around your neighborhood and see 12 year old kids in shorts and flipflops running push mowers with no idea of the dangers, and certainly no supervision.

  5. #5

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    BX23

    Default Re: Young Operators - How young is too young?

    It does depend on the Child not the age.

    I was using a mower, push and riding mowers from the time I was maybe 8 or 9, there was no direct supervision but I was not allowed to use the mowers unless an adult was home, just incase of an emegency.
    I also hunted with my Dad starting when I was 6 years old squirell hunting with a .410 not more than a few feet from his side until I was maybe 12 or 13 then I started der hunting in a stand by myself

    Now see the reason I say it depends is because My son is now 8 going on 9 and he is not near ready for any of this. he probably has a couple more years before he will be mowing or using any powr equiptment and probably won't be hunting with me until next season.

    I mean for Cripes sake when I was 9 going on 10 I got my first dirt bike and used to ride it all over a 90 acre farm and be gone from sun up to sun down, checking in occasionally throughout the day. My son is nearly 9 and doesn't do that well on his bicycle [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
    Kinda makes me feel like I did something wrong [img]/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img] But I know that it is just the fact that different kids mature at diferent levels

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Young Operators - How young is too young?

    I'm afraid to respond... but here goes.

    When helping a friend bale hay, we let his daughters drive the tractors pulling the wagons while we pick up the bales (no kick baler).

    The biggest tractor is a MF 165 (what is that, about 55hp?) and his youngest daughter is 4 years old. Before the bashing begins, she is strapped in with the seatbelt and the speed is set slower than a leisurely walking pace. All we need her to do is steer the tractor in the general direction of the bales.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Young Operators - How young is too young?

    I would have to agree with BCZOOM. My best tractor memories started at age 4 when my grandfather let me help bring in the hay one summer by steering the tractor as he and the farm hands loaded the wagon. The speed was set at a slow walk and I would go up and down the rows until the wagon was loaded.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: Young Operators - How young is too young?

    Well it just strikes me that, years ago, kids started young out of necessity rather than a sense of ability. Sink or swim, thrown into the situation at what might seem an imprudent age today. To a degree, I follow this general philosophy with my kids if nothing more than to get a better understanding of their abilities. Of course, I do want them to be as self-sufficient as possible as early as possible. At 12y.o., not only did I do all the mowing, I was bolting lawn mower engines on anything with wheels and generally driving like a madman (got the x-rays to prove it too!). I know it's a mental maturity thing mostly but, like Bob says, it's going to be a good while of close supervision before I'm ready to hand over the keys and comfortable enough to go take a nap.

    And Bob, be nice to the new guy please! I do have the ballast box a bit more than half full of paver bricks. But since I'm really not expecting to do any heavy lifting yet, I'm just trying to save the lawn. It's still VERY wet around here. I did manage to get a tire in the air a few times trying to pop one trunk though! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/ooo.gif[/img] [img]/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img]

  9. #9
    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: Young Operators - How young is too young?

    <font color="blue">
    And Bob, be nice to the new guy please! I do have the ballast box a bit more than half full of paver bricks. But since I'm really not expecting to do any heavy lifting yet, I'm just trying to save the lawn. It's still VERY wet around here. I did manage to get a tire in the air a few times trying to pop one trunk though! </font>


    I've been known to be abrasive more than once or twice, but I used the little smiley face when I wrote about the seemingly empty weight box in your picture!


  10. #10
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: Young Operators - How young is too young?

    I know, I'm just breakin' your chops... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

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