Children's Safety In The Garden
Whether flowers, vegetables or fruit, a bountiful garden is a thing of beauty and the result of much hard work. Don’t let it become a dangerous place for your children. Take a few minutes and check your garden for these hazards that could cause accidents.
Know the plants on your property. Thorns, thistles and sharp edges can prick little hands. Trim them back or move them. Teach young children not to eat any enticing berries, leaves or flowers plucked from the plant. They could be poisonous.
Cover sand boxes and sand pits when kids are not playing in them. Otherwise, animals might use them as a toilet.
Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are popular garden elements. Never leave them unattended. Douse them completely before leaving the area. Place fire pits away from sheds, fences and other wooden structures to ensure stray sparks don’t catch them on fire. Also make sure they’re not too close to trees or other vegetation. Supervise children around all flames.
Also supervise children around water. Ponds, waterfalls and other water elements in your garden should be appropriately secured. It only takes a few minutes and a few inches of water for a child to drown.
Lather children (and yourself) in sunscreen and use insect repellent to keep annoying bugs away. Many a day outdoors has been ruined by sunburns, bee stings and mosquito bites.
Chemicals and equipment
Use garden chemicals when children aren’t in the garden, so they don’t inhale the fumes. Keep all chemicals securely locked up. Never store chemicals in containers which resemble a can, bottle or cup. Label all chemicals clearly and store them on shelves out of reach of children.
Keep any sharp or heavy hand gardening tools, as well as electrical tools and garden machinery out of reach of children. Avoid using them when they’re with you in the garden. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.
Use common sense when allowing children to use garden tools themselves. Don't allow young children to use tools designed for adults. Supervise them and show them how to safely use the tools. Keep gardening tools in good condition and lock them away safely after use.
Ensure all children’s play equipment is in good working order and is age appropriate. Inspect it regularly for wear and tear. Pay particular attention to the fasteners that hold the unit together and secure it to the ground. Check wear-and-tear on ropes and swings.
Buildings and fences
Repair any damaged concrete or other paving materials used in sidewalks, paths and patios to avoid stumbles. Avoid slipping by clearing debris and removing any moss. To prevent tumbles, secure garden steps and steep slopes. Install handrails where appropriate.
Use garden bed borders that are not sharp.
Securely fence your garden. Regularly check for damage and places where a toddler could crawl through. Consider installing a gate across driveways and sidewalks that lead to the road or parking area.
If a greenhouse, potting shed or summerhouse is nearby to the play area, a stray ball could break a window. Install safety glass or place plastic film on the outside of the glass. A secure panel or trellis also could help to prevent broken glass.
Keeping children safe in the garden is important. Tell us the safety measures you've implemented at your house in the comment section below!