One of the most common things parents do is baby-proofing the home. Children are active and curious, so it is essential to make the home a safe place for them to explore. The same applies to the backyard. Kids love being outdoors, and this means you want your yard to be childproof and safe for exploration too. Some hazards are less obvious than others, so the tips below can help you identify all potential dangers.
How To Make Your Yard Safe For Children?
- Pad your furniture: Some outdoor furniture, especially tables, has sharp corners or bars sticking out which can cause accidents. Switch to furniture with smoother lines or make sure the furniture is well padded.
- Pay attention to fixtures: Outdoor hoses and nozzles can get hot when they have been sitting in direct sunlight so be sure to 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 taps, and make sure outdoor electrical sockets are covered well to prevent any nasty shocks.
- Check your plants: Some plants are poisonous if ingested so learn which are dangerous and get rid of them. Even if the leaves aren’t actually ingested if the child touches them, they can get sick, so removal really is the only safe option. Consult a gardener about which plants to steer clear of including toxic plants (mushrooms, oleander), prickly plants (roses, bougainvillea, cactus), and plants that bear small fruit (berries, olives).
- Make fire pits safe: Fire pits are a great addition to your yard but the coals can stay hot and they can be tripping hazards. You may want to avoid having a fire pit until your child is older and understands the need to stay away. If you do have a fire pit, be sure it is always covered when not in use.
- Secure play structures: Always place play equipment on level ground. Inspect the area often because the ground can change over time particularly after long stretches of rain or sun, and small bumps or holes can cause tripping accidents. As for the play structures themselves buy them from a reputable source and follow safety directions carefully when building them. Make sure there are no sharp edges, no falling hazards and the features are age-appropriate for your children.
- 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. Additionally, you want to avoid gravel, as this can be tough for new walkers to walk on properly and can also hurt if there’s a fall.
- Water safety: Most cities have laws regarding pool safety, and all pools must have a locked fenced area. Even if your town doesn’t have this law this is essential for the safety of your children. Should you have kiddie pools, make sure they are 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.
- Watch out for stairs: Outdoor stairs can be a tripping hazard for children, even if it’s just one or two. Make sure you have a barrier on any stairs so children can’t fall down them.
- Lock up garden equipment: Lawnmowers, electrical yard equipment, and even small trowels and rakes can be dangerous if children get their hands on them. Always keep these stored in a locked shed.
- 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. You can also add an automatic closing spring just in case someone leaves it open.
- Store BBQ properly: When grilling around children you should always appoint another person in the yard to keep them away. There usually is a lot going on with the food and sharp utensils and children should be kept at a safe distance. 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.
When trying to make sure your yard is safe for children, take a moment to 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. With these helpful tips you and the children can have safe and happy times playing in your yard. Just remember, that even though your yard has been childproofed, you still must ALWAYS supervise your children!