Having a backyard can be a selling point for many homes. For families with children, it can be a great place for kids to explore the outdoors safely, play games with family or even just relax in the sun. However, it takes work to create a backyard that is safe for children to explore. And any parent knows that kids often like to be mischievous and take risks. Therefore, it’s important you make your yard as safe as possible for your children. Here are some steps you can take to do just that.
- Remove poisonous plants
While some plants can have beautiful leaves and blooms, they can be extremely harmful to people. Some plants need to be ingested, while others simply need to be touched to cause rashes and the like. Take the time to research the plants in your yard and remove any that present a risk to your children. If you can’t bear to part with them, dig them up and put them out of your child’s reach. You can also fence them off.
- Fence off garden beds
Speaking of fencing off plants, it can be a good idea to fence off your garden beds. This not only prevents kids from interacting with potentially harmful plants, but also saves your garden beds from being trod on. It can also make it easier to supervise your children as they play as they can’t disappear into any green hidey-holes.
When your kids are older and understand how to play safely outside, you can remove the fence if you wish.
- Look out for dangerous insects
Australia is home to a wide range of wildlife — even in suburban backyards. And as any Australian knows, our country is home to plenty of venomous creatures too. Funnel web and redback spiders are common in many gardens, as well as different species of wasps.
Therefore, to childproof your yard, you need to be on the look-out for these creatures. Do your best to avoid creating ideal habitats for them, as well as removing them when you notice them setting up residence. Talk with your children too about insects and spiders they shouldn’t approach.
- Keep door locked
Your garden shed or garage may be where you store many dangerous items, including chemicals and tools. Children may injure themselves if they have free access to such a space, therefore it’s best to keep the shed door locked at all times.
- Keep chemicals out of reach
Even with the shed door locked, it’s best to take preventative measures to avoid your children coming to harm. Therefore, you should keep any chemicals, like pesticides or insecticides out of their reach. So even if your kids do enter your shed without supervision, they are less likely to injure themselves.
- Store power tools and garden tools safely
Similarly, while locking your shed door is an important step, it’s a good idea to take preventative measures. Just like keeping chemicals out of reach, make sure any power and garden tools are put away safely. Doing so not only protects your children, but also minimises the risk of accidents to yourself as you work in the shed. Additionally, properly storing tools can increase their useful life and mean less repairs.
- Fenced off in compliance with local regulations
If you have a pool or any body of water that is more than 30cm deep in your yard, it will need to be fenced off. Your area may have specific regulations about how tall the fence needs to be along, with additional information about gates and items near the pool. Check what regulations apply to your pool.
- Children must always be supervised
Even strong swimmers can get into trouble, so whenever your children are swimming or in the pool area, they need to be supervised. Make sure your children also know how to swim and what to do if they or someone else is having trouble.
- Make sure fences don’t have any gaps
To avoid children leaving the property without supervision, make sure your backyard is fully and adequately fenced. Your children should not be able to climb it, slip through gaps or crawl under it. It can also be a good idea to ensure if you have a gate that it is automated. An automated gate can be set to only open for adults and eliminates the possibility of forgetting to shut the gate behind you.
- Regularly check play equipment for issues
Exposure to the elements can slowly degrade play equipment. This can lead to rust and sharp edges, splintering wood and even structural weaknesses. Make an effort to regularly look over your children’s outdoor play equipment to check for these issues. Repair or remove the equipment as necessary so that children do not injure themselves as they play.
- Teach children about interacting with animals
Along with doing your best to remove harmful insects and spiders from your yard, it’s your responsibility as a parent to educate your children on how to safely interact with any animals they may encounter in the backyard. For instance, you should teach them to never approach a snake but to get an adult instead.
Similarly, it’s important to teach your children how to play outside (and inside) with any pets you have. Remind them that your pet has a mind of its own and may not always want to play when your child does. If you have a dog, it can also be a good idea to teach your children to not take toys or food from it.
- Supervise children when outside
Even with all the best childproofing, it’s important that you continue to supervise your children as they play outside. This way you can stop risky behavior before an accident occurs, as well as spend some quality time with your children. Use these handy tips to make your backyard as safe as possible for your children so you can all enjoy some time outdoors this summer.