Wanting kids to be safe is understandable. But shutting down the farms of the people who care most about those children — their families — goes way too far.That, perhaps not surprisingly, is what the U.S. Department of Labor proposed to do with new rules regarding child labor. That rule change is on hold, and the Department of Labor promises a revision by summer. Someone in the department needs to employ a bit more common sense than what was shown with the first draft.As The Lima News explained Sunday, the proposed rule change would have kept children younger than 16 from working on family farms unless the farms were solely owned by their parents. That would make it illegal for grandchildren or nieces and nephews to contribute. Partnerships and limited liability corporations, which many families set up their farms as, would not be “family-owned” — so the young workers would be forbidden from working there at all.The rule also prohibits children from handling animals and almost all powered farm equipment. Driving lawn mowers and handheld weed cutters would be off limits for those under 16. City kids would be fine earning money by mowing their neighbors' grass, but farmers would be breaking the law by having a 15-year-old use a mower.Opponents of the rules, including U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, say it would cripple family farms and deprive young people of needed work experience. They're right.More than that, the Department of Labor is offering evidence that distant governments have trouble regulating any industry in a sensible way. President Barack Obama said this year that he wants to eliminate pointless regulations. His Labor Department responded by adding a rule that is the picture of needless regulation.But the Obama administration isn't to blame alone. The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division hasn't updated its rule on child labor in 40 years. If the federal government is going to have rules, and it needs to have them, then they ought to be kept more current than Republicans and Democrats alike have kept this one.Updating this rule certainly makes sense. Children doing agricultural work are four times more likely to be killed than those doing all other kinds of industrial work combined, according to the Department of Labor. But that's comparing apples to oranges. How many children are working in other types of industrial work? Besides, there's a world of difference between saying a 14-year-old cannot operate a combine or drive a tractor and saying that same 14-year-old cannot work anywhere on a farm.Such a blanket change would drive up costs, forcing many small farmers out of business. Many farms rely on generations of family members to do the work — allowing the younger people to learn the trade and better position themselves to one day take over. The Department of Labor would turn farming into more of a factory environment than a family operation.It's laudable that the Department of Labor wants to protect children, but it should do so with more common sense.