Your garden is the best place for your child to explore nature, satisfy their curiosity, and let off that extra bit of energy. In the garden, they can develop, play and rejuvenate. But kids are kids and their curiosity has no limits. Before you know it, they’re wandering into a thorny shrub, or slipping their tiny fingers in an uncovered drain. Sometimes even they can find their way into the garden shed where you keep the power tools. You’ve already baby-proofed your home, now let’s see what you can do about your garden to make it a safe place for them.
Fences are there to protect your kids but also to make sure they don’t wander off. When a child sees something even mildly interesting, say in the neighbour’s yard, they’ll stop at nothing to get there. All in the few minutes it takes you to make a cup of tea. For their safety and your own piece of mind, surround the play areas with high fences that they cannot get through. As your child gets taller, so should the fences.
Secure the gates
With the fences fixed, mended, and in place, now it’s time to turn your attention to the gates. Child-proofing the gates with good locking mechanisms is the best way to keep them secure. Remember you’re not just doing this to keep them from getting out, but also to keep others from getting in. So a solid lock will guarantee they won’t go anywhere.
Eliminate poisonous plants
Poisonous plants sprout up anywhere there’s water and fertile soil; like in your garden. Poisonous mushrooms, lily of the valley, and peonies are just a few examples of plants you want to keep out of your garden. Other poisons you need to keep away from the reach of children are bleaches, herbicides, baits and pesticides. It’s always better to lock them away than, say, keeping them on a high shelf where they might drop and spill.
Pools, ponds, and water
Swimming pools and ponds pose a great risk for children. For people between the ages of 5 and 24, drowning in the pool is the second leading cause of accidental death. That is why it’s vital to keep your pool safe and secure. Ensure you have a fence around the pool and the gate is locked at all times. If you have paddling pools, make sure they’re emptied and stored away after use. If you leave them lying around they can be filled up with rain where children could fall in and drown.
Swing to safety
If there’s something every garden, backyard or playground must have, it’s a swing. It’s no surprise that they cause most injuries. To make swings safe, make sure the ground under them is grassy and soft to avoid injury from falling. Also make sure the swing has its own clearing area away from fences and footpaths.
Safety starts from within the house and moves out to the garden. Teaching the children about dangerous places, sharp objects and why staying away from water is essential. Of course, you can’t expect them to get it or to fight their natural instincts to explore and find out for themselves. But by taking these necessary steps you’ll make the time they spend in the garden is fun and safe as you want it to be.
Jane Sandwood – Freelance Writer