A backyard is an excellent feature of any home. It adds an aesthetic element to your home and is a superb area to hold outdoor parties or retreat to after the day’s work. It also provides a delightful space for your children to explore, learn, and grow.
However, when raising small kids, most people tend to focus on childproofing the indoors and often overlook the backyard. Even so, just like the indoors, the outdoor spaces can pose dangers, including poisoning, falling, drowning, and other injuries if the appropriate precautions and measures are not taken.
Here is how you can childproof your backyard:
Provide safe toys and playground equipment
Adding some toys or a playground in your backyard is a fascinating way for your children to explore nature, discover shapes and sizes, and enjoy many other childhood games.
However, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, playground equipment causes injuries that result in 51,000 emergency room visits annually. Therefore, do your due diligence when buying a playground set to ensure that it is safe and durable.
Furthermore, check that the swing sets, climbing structures, and trampolines are anchored properly and double check that all screws and nails are fastened. Rake over the sand in Sandpits regularly to make sure that they are free of sharp objects and dangerous insects.
Install a swimming pool fence
Drowning is the principal cause of accidental injury-related deaths among children aged 1-4. In fact, a study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that kids under the age of five years accounted for 75% of spa and pool submersion deaths.
Consequently, in some states, it is required by law to have a fence surrounding the backyard swimming pool. Experts recommend that all water features should have a barrier with a minimum height of 5 feet that is anchored on a stable base.
Keep a well-maintained landscape
A well-kept backyard landscape can lower the risk of your children being scratched or suffering an eye injury. Tend to your shrubbery and trim low-hanging branches promptly.
Mow your lawn regularly since overgrown grass can cause trips and falls as well as hinder you from spotting poisonous or harmful plants. Moreover, probe the backyard spaces for any spiders, wasps, and snakes since some of them like hiding in dark places.
Check your plants
Some plants such as toxic plants- oleander or mushrooms and prickly plants- bougainvillea, roses, or cactus can be noxious if touched or ingested. They can cause infections and diseases or leave marks on the skin.
Therefore, you should consult a horticulturist or gardener to know how to avoid these plants. Also, small-fruits-bearing plants like the olives and berries should be out of reach for your children because the fruits can cause choking hazards due to their small size.
Alternatively, you should consider planting plants that are more edible, including vegetables, some herbs, and fruits, which are nonhazardous for curious children to ingest.
Keep all garden equipment locked up
Just like a bathroom or kitchen, a backyard can be filled with dangerous fertilizers and chemicals such as weed killers, rodent baits, and swimming pool chemicals. Also, there could be tools including saws, axes, lawn mowers, pliers, hammers and screws or nails.
Children are in most cases unable to recognize the perils associated with these items. More so, gasoline or engine oil from equipment such as lawn mowers can cause spills that might endanger your children. So, it is wise to keep these items in a locked shed or garage.
Provide soft landings
Ideal groundcover for play areas should be soft. That’s because your children are bound to trip and fall while running around these areas. Experts recommend grass, padded foam, or fake grass since they can cushion the falls. You should avoid gravel because it can be tough for new walkers to walk on properly. Besides, pea-sized gravel can cause choking while brick and concrete can hurt whenever there is a fall.
Pad your furniture and eliminate sharp edges
Your outdoor furniture, mainly tables, might have bars protruding or sharp corners that can be dangerous for children. Damaged furniture can also create exposed elements, which can harm kids if they slide or rub against the areas.
Switch to furniture that has rounded corners, smoother lines, and ensure that your existing stuff is well padded. Also, ensure that your furnishing items in your outdoors are durable and resistant to snapping and tearing to eliminate the likelihood of sharp edges that can cut the skin.
Watch your fixtures
Outdoor nozzles and hoses can get sizzling hot if left sitting in direct sunlight. In fact, according to the University Of Michigan Health Services, water sitting in such hoses can heat up to temperatures that can scald a child. Thus, keep them in shadier areas or put them away if not in use.
Check the fire pits
Even though you enjoy hosting garden parties, BBQ, or lighting a romantic fire, your kids might see fire pits as a potential science project. Consequently, never leave your child unattended around a grill and extinguish the fire correctly, after you are done to avoid the hazards of smoldering flames. Also, use silica-free sand instead of glass pieces in fire pits. Kids find glass pieces attractive due to their shiny, bright color and yet they are another choking hazard.
Fence the perimeter
Keeping your children contained can deter them from wandering off. Ensure that you have a good gate latch, that will make sure it stays closed. Also, it is wise to add an automatic closing spring just in case one leaves the gate open.
Supervision is the ultimate means of preventing accidents. It is vital and fun to watch over your children and being involved in their backyard activities. Besides, it can encourage a more profound bond, which is irreplaceable!
- Educate your children on backyard safety tips
- Learn how to administer CPR and have a first aid kit
- Observe healthy hygiene such as asking your kids to wash hands after playing outside to avoid the spread of germs and diseases
Most parents agree that the happiness and safety of their child are the most vital thing in their lives. Watching and guarding kids is an inherent instinct of parents, who by nature are protectors. Thus, it is crucial to create a kid-friendly backyard environment for your children to play, run, and expend all their energy.