A garden is a brilliant place for children to be. They can enjoy the extra space to play in, as well as enjoying being outdoors in the fresh air. You can teach them about things like plants, gardening, and the wildlife that lives in your garden. However, if not thought about properly, there are also some potential dangers in a garden for children. Here’s how to make sure that yours is as safe as can be.
Put In Lighting
Lighting is one of the most important safety features to add to your garden to protect the whole family, not just kids. You can put in fixed lighting around sitting areas, so you can enjoy the space in the evening, and still be able to see what you’re doing. Light any pathways around the garden to reduce the risk of trips and falls after dark. Install outdoor lighting fixtures in areas with tall or thick foliage as children may easily wander and get lost in them at night. You can ask the help of an expert in the installation, or consult them beforehand on a lighting design that incorporates the safety and well-being of the family. Motion sensitive lights are useful on the front of the house so they will come on if you arrive home after dark and need to see your way in. Motion-sensitive lights will also work to put off any would-be trespassers approaching your property.
A water feature can be beautiful, but remember that a child can drown in only a few inches of water. If you have a pond in the garden, make sure you add a mesh grill over the top of the water, so no accidental trip or fall can end with a child in the water. You could also put a fence around the pond and keep the gate locked any time are you aren’t around to supervise your child playing outside. Be careful with anywhere that water might gather, such as the lid of a sandpit, or a water butt. Keep these items propped up or covered, so water can’t gather and become a hazard.
If you have a pool in the garden, it’s a good idea to get local fencing contractors to enclose the pool with secure fencing. Like the pond, add a gate and keep it locked. Make sure any young children know not to use the pool when you aren’t there to supervise them. It can be a good idea to teach them to swim as soon as possible and learn some basic life-saving skills yourself.
Be Careful What You Plant
You can’t watch children every single second that they’re playing outside, and it doesn’t take long for them to get into mischief they shouldn’t be in. Children love putting all kinds of things into their mouths, and plants can be a very appealing thing for them to try out as a snack, simply out of curiosity. An easy gardening tip to keep your garden as safe as possible for children is to be very careful with what you decide to plant. There are lots of plants that are perfectly safe to eat, so try to stick with those. Avoiding plants that could be poisonous if consumed is a good idea if you have pets in the house too, as well as any small children.
Make It Secure
Make sure your garden boundary is kept secure with proper fencing or hedging. You ought to keep any fences or hedges in good repair so that your children can’t get out without you noticing. Secure fencing also stops unwanted animals from getting in, who could pose a hazard to children or your own pets.
Make sure any that gates onto your property are sturdy and can be fastened with something that your child can’t reach or undo by themselves. A lockable gate is a good security measure to keep people from approaching your house, as well as keeping your children in your garden where you know they’re safe.
While you’re looking at your fences and gates, check for any loose or exposed nails or screws. These could cause some nasty injuries if a child gets caught on them or falls onto them.
Keep Play Equipment Safe
If you have play equipment in your garden, like a swing or a climbing frames, make sure you position them in a safe place. Play equipment should have plenty of thick grass under it to cushion any falls, or you can lay a surface underneath, like bark chips. This will help to minimise any injuries if your child takes a tumble.
Keep the equipment in good repair, to avoid any mishaps with things falling or injuries caused by exposed screws. Make sure that there is plenty of room around things like swings, so your children are less likely to collide with each other while they’re playing.
It’s a good idea to talk to your children about safety outside in the garden, just as you would about safety inside the house. You would teach your children about how to stay safe in the kitchen around hot or sharp objects, so why wouldn’t you teach them safety lessons for outside too. Talk to them about potential hazards outside, like the pool or dangerous plants. Teach them what to do if they have a fall. Show them which plants are safe to eat and how to tell the difference. If your children often play in the front garden, or there is a footpath along your back garden, make sure they know not to talk to people passing by, and to fetch you if someone does try to talk to them.
*This is a collaborative post