Summertime is meant for enjoying some backyard fun with your kids but injuries can end the fun fast! Here’s some tips for keeping kids safe in the yard.
We’re looking forward to spending some time in our backyard this summer but unlike in years past we now have a walking, gets into everything, toddler! We’re going to have to get busy childproofing our yard and if you have children or will have any visiting children this summer here are the steps you also need to take:
1. Pad your furniture
Some outdoor furniture, especially tables, can have sharp corners or bars protruding from them which can cause some not so nice owies. Switch to furniture with smoother lines or make sure your existing stuff is well padded.
2. Watch your fixtures
Outdoor hoses and nozzles can get sizzling hot if they sit in direct sunlight so keep them in the shadier areas of your yard or put them away if not in use.
Move or cover any hard fixtures protruding from your home such as a tap so little heads don’t get bonked! And make sure outdoor electrical sockets are covered well to prevent any nasty shocks.
3. Check your plants
Some plants can be poisonous if ingested so for the sake of your children and your pets get rid of these. Even if the leaves aren’t actually ingested if the child touches them it’s possible they can get sick.
4. Remove or cover fire pits
These can be a great addition to your yard but the coals can stay hot even if not in use and they can be tripping hazards. It may be best to forego the fire pit until your child is older and able to understand to stay away.
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5. Make sure play structures are secure
Always place any play equipment on level ground – a bumpy piece of grass or a slight hill can cause it to tip over once the child starts to climb on it. Inspect your area often as the ground can change over time particularly after long stretches of rain or sun.
As for the play structures themselves buy them from a reputable source and follow safety directions carefully if building your own. Make sure they have no sharp edges, no falling hazards and are age appropriate for your children.
6. Add grass
Your child is bound to trip and fall when running around playing and they’re a lot better off if they can land on grass rather than cement. Gravel can be tough for new walkers to walk on properly and can also hurt if there’s a fall.
7. Watch out for water
Most areas have laws stating if you have a family sized pool it must be kept in a locked fenced area. Even if your town doesn’t have this law this is a must do!
Little kiddie pools should be emptied between uses because it is possible to drown in just a few inches of water. Standing water can also grow bacteria and become a habitat for insects – which poses a different type of danger.
8. Watch out for stairs
Outdoor stairs, even if it’s just one or two, can be a tripping hazard for children. Provide a barrier so children can’t fall down them.
9. Keep all garden equipment locked up
Lawn mowers, other electrical yard equipment and even small trowels and rakes can be dangerous if children get their hands on them. Store these in your locked shed.
10. Fence your yard
Keeping your child contained will prevent them from wandering off. Make sure you have a good gate latch to ensure it stays closed and it’s best to add an automatic closing spring just in case someone leaves it open.
11. Store your BBQ and accessories properly
When grilling around children appoint another person in the yard to keep them away as flames can fly and there’s usually a lot going on with the food and sharp utensils.
Safely store any propane tanks in areas not accessible by children and make sure not to leave additional coals, sharp tongs or other BBQ utensils around.
12. Look at things from a toddler’s perspective
Get down low, take a look around your yard and think like a child – look for any additional hazards your own yard may pose and fix them up.
Safe, happy summertime playing
Follow these tips so you and the children can have a safe, happy summertime playing in your yard – but remember even when an area is childproofed ALWAYS supervise your children!