How to child-proof your backyard

The backyard is a source of relaxation and entertainment for the whole family. Despite it’s welcoming nature, this outdoor space has some risks. Here are some danger areas to watch out for and how you can child-proof them for a season full of fun. 

Plants

Although your landscaping florals may be beautiful, they can be extremely hazardous if your child decides to have a taste. According to Consumer Reports, plants are the leading cause of poisoning in children under the age of five. Examples of toxic plants include English Ivy, Easter Lily, Daffodils, and Azaleas (here are more examples).

To keep your child safe:

  • Fence off toxic plants (or avoid planting them all together).
  • Keep an extra strong eye on your child when playing outside.
  • Teach him or her to never put a leaf, flower, bark, wild berry, or stem in their mouth.
  • Avoid planting plants with sharp edges.
  • Remove branches or leaves from the yard. 
  • Keep the Poison Control number (1-800-222-1222) in your phone. If your child is having a serious reaction, call 911 immediately.

Pesticides

With a nice yard often comes a heavy dose of pesticides to keep it looking fresh. These pesticides pose a serious risk if ingested or absorbed through your child’s eye or skin. In fact, kids are equally at risk if they just simply touch grass that was recently treated with pesticide or fertilizer. 

To keep your child safe:

  • Keep pesticides, fertilizers, herbicide, and all other chemicals locked safely away from your child.
  • If you must treat your lawn, make sure your children stay away from the area for at least 48 hours after.

Insects

While most bugs won’t pose a serious threat to your family, it’s important to play it safe. Bee stings may cause a serious allergic reaction and mosquito bites will make everyone miserable. 

To keep your child safe:

  • Avoid wearing bright or white colors when playing outside.
  • Keep food covered.
  • Observe an active hive or spider web from afar with your child and teach them the importance of leaving the insects alone.
  • Don’t use scented soaps.
  • Shake out towels, blankets, or sweaters if they’ve been laying in the grass.
  • Don’t let your child play near stagnant water.
  • Use bug spray on children over 2 months old .

Deck

Children should have adequate monitoring when hanging out on the deck, especially if it’s elevated. 

To keep your child safe:

  • Provide a soft landing at the base of the deck if there is a slight drop off.
  • Place a guard around the railing if they can easily slide through the slats.
  • Be aware of any breakage in the wood that could lead to splinters.

Lawn mower

Lawn mowers pose a serious risk for injury if not properly handled or stored. Aside from the blades, it’s important to be mindful of gasoline and the possibility of rocks or other sharp objects from flying out. 

To keep your child safe:

  • Keep your mowers and lawn equipment locked in a garage or storage shed.
  • Make sure children are never outside or within reach of a lawn mower while it’s being operated. Keeping them indoors is the safest option.
  • Never allow a young child to ride the lawn mower. 


Pools or ponds

Pools are a great addition to any summer afternoon, but it’s important to put safety first. The number one key for pool safety is supervision. If you’re planning a poolside afternoon with fun in the sun, you’ll want to make sure there is always a pair of eyes watching your children.

To keep your child safe:

  • Keep the pool free of toys or floaties if no one is using it. This prevents your child from running over and falling in with excitement. 
  • Keep a rescue kit handy.
  • Consider a pool fence.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Check the filtration system often to make sure the water temperature is at a safe level. 

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