Backyards and children go hand in hand. Fresh air, fun, and exercise are a perfect combination for a growing child. However, there are potentially many dangers lurking in the average backyard. A few simple ideas can help to eliminate a majority of the threats your child faces in your yard.
1. Determine the potential hazards in your backyard. Spend a few minutes surveying your yard. What are the potential hazards? How can those hazards be mitigated? What resources do you have at your disposal to create a safer environment?
2. Set ground rules. After walking your yard and looking for hazards, sit down with your children and explain the rules for playing in the back yard. Be sure to explain the rules to any children that are visiting, too.
3. Keep an eye on wear and tear. Toys, slides, sandboxes, and swing sets eventually wear out and require repair or replacement. Ask yourself if a child could be harmed by using your current play structures and take appropriate action.
4. Eliminate hazardous plants and flowers. While your teenagers probably has enough sense not to eat the vegetation in your backyard, your toddler might not. Many toxic plants and flowers are colorful and pleasant smelling. Other plant hazards include thorns. Examine the vegetation in your yard and determine if your family is safe. Enlist the help of experts if you have any questions.
5. Control the mosquito population. While a wide variety of insects can be a nuisance, mosquitoes pose a unique threat. Many diseases can be transmitted by mosquito bites. These diseases include West Nile Virus and various forms of encephalitis. There is a lot you can do on your own, but it wouldn't hurt to consult an expert. Mosquito control is necessary for a safe backyard.
6. Keep your pool secure. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children between the ages of one and four. Access to pools and hot tubs must be completely restricted unless an adult is present. Determine which doors and windows lead to the pool area and keep them secured. Ensure that fencing is in place and locked at all times. Keep hot tub covers locked, too. Water is simultaneously appealing and dangerous to children.
7. Keep an eye on your children. Kids are masters at finding ways to hurt themselves. Supervise your children and take the necessary precautions. Water breaks, sunscreen, and bug repellent can be effective preventative measures.
8. Grill safely. You know that fire can be dangerous. Keep your drilling activities away from the play areas in your yard. A low-traffic area can be safer location for grilling. Keep lighter fluid and matches under your direct control. Talk to your children about the dangers involved.
9. Be aware of how dangerous a trampoline can be. Roughly 100,000 emergency room visits each year are due to trampoline accidents. If you must have a trampoline, limit the use to just one child at a time. Over 75% of injuries occur with multiple jumpers.
10. Fencing can help to keep your children safe. A fence can keep your child from wandering off and keep out strangers and dogs. If a fence isn't an option, set firm ground rules and boundaries. Keep an eye on your child.
A backyard should be a safe place for children to grow and play. Many of the most common dangers are obvious. However, with a little thought and planning, you can create a safe haven for your children.