If you have garden or yard, there is no better place for your children to satisfy their natural curiosity, use their imagination, explore nature and burn off some of that energy! Of course, kids will be kids, however. We’ve all been there, and so it should really come as no surprise that if there’s a thorny shrub, an exposed drain, a sticking-out nail or an unsecured shed full of sharp objects, they are certain to find every single one of them.
Some say trips to the emergency room are also an inevitable part of childhood, but this is definitely something we all want to avoid. So how can we make the garden safe, without spoiling all the fun?
Secure the boundaries
Getting prickled by a bush is one thing but wandering out into the street, or having someone uninvited stroll in to your garden is the stuff of nightmares. Ensure play areas are properly fenced – that means something that even an aspiring Houdini will not be able to scale! Child proof latches on gates are a good idea with little ones, and ideally, it makes sense to secure the entire property with locked gates at the end of the driveway. As a finishing touch, add a no trespassing sign to the gate. You can always install a remote doorbell there so that genuine visitors or delivery couriers can alert you to their presence.
Be on poison alert
There are plenty of poisonous plants that look innocuous enough but can be extremely harmful. They can appear anywhere as long as there is fertile soil and water, so remain vigilant. If you are a keen gardener, there are probably some chemicals in the shed that are just as dangerous. Some people recommend keeping them on a high shelf, but that’s less than ideal, as they can easily drop or spill. A locked cupboard is the safest course of action.
Pools and ponds
Kids love nothing more than messing about with water. If you have a garden pond, or better still a swimming pool, it will provide hours of fun. But keep in mind that for children over five, drowning in a pool is the second most common cause of fatal accidents. Install a fence around the pond or pool and keep the gate locked at all times unless you are there and supervising.
A garden swing is one of those “must-haves” for children. It is also a leading cause of those emergency room visits we were talking about. Let’s be honest, kids are inevitably going to fall off the swing once or twice, but if you ensure it is installed on soft ground and away from paths, fences and other obstructions, then there will be nothing worse to deal with than minor scrapes and bruises.
Teaching children to take responsibility for their own safety and educating them about the dangers of poisons, water and all the rest is, of course, important. But their curiosity is a strong force, so it is down to us to ensure garden risks are understood and managed.