Children and backyards go together like peanut butter and jelly. Your backyard is a place where your kids can run, jump, and be as rowdy as they please. But since you likely won’t be there to watch them every minute, it’s important to make sure that the area stays as safe as possible.
Check for Dangerous Plants
A plant can be pretty and still pose a danger. Many common plants and flowers are toxic when ingested, including laurels, foxgloves, Easter lilies, and many species of ivy. You can usually ask your local garden center if seeds and plants are toxic before you purchase them. Even if you don’t have any of these hazards in your yard, teach your kids about the possible dangers of poisonous plants, and tell them to ask you before eating anything they find.
Repair Fences and Gates
Fences serve two purposes: keeping your children inside the yard, and keeping animals and other people out. Take a walk around your fence roughly once a month to make sure it’s still intact and that the gate locks properly. Broken boards and exposed nails pose safety hazards, so fix them as soon as you notice the problem. If you have a swimming pool installed, you can also invest in special guard fences to protect kids from falling in.
Put Play Structures on Flat Surfaces
Whether it’s a swing set or a trampoline , make sure any large backyard toys are resting on flat surfaces. This will help prevent the structure from tipping over during rough play. If your yard isn’t flat, consider digging out a level area before you set up a large trampoline.
Install a Security System
Security systems aren’t just for the inside of your house; the right system can protect your home on the outside, too. A perimeter system can let you know if a stranger is entering the area (or if a raccoon is getting through your fence), and security cameras will let you keep an eye on the kids even while you’re away from the backyard.
Put Away Dangerous Tools and Chemicals
The backyard is a great place to paint a bench or pull out the superglue without damaging anything inside the house; but when you’re done with the project, you should always remember to put everything safely away in the shed. A hammer, bucket of nails or even bottle of pesticide can become extremely dangerous in a child’s hands, so consider taking a few extra minutes during the cleanup phase.
The easiest way to make sure your backyard is safe is to stay aware. Make sure everything from the jungle gym to the back step stays well maintained, and keep an eye out for hazards. While the very best idea is to always have adult supervision, these ideas can let your kids play and allow you to keep your peace of mind.
Guest post written by Maya Welch. Maya is a graduate of Utah State University, having received her BA in English. She has been published in an array of magazines and periodicals and is now looking to take over the Internet while writing about a range of subjects from family to finance, and from cars to entertainment.
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