Your home’s yard can be a magical place for your children. Outdoor games, sport and play-time are all a huge part of a child’s upbringing and social life. How many of us remember playing backyard cricket as kids?
Kids love to play and explore, which is great, however from time to time it can lead them into trouble. For this week’s blog we’ve put together our five top tips for making your yard a safer and more child-friendly area.
1. Remove poisonous plants
Dangerous plants, as well as plants that you suspect of being dangerous should be removed from your yard. Plants such as deadly nightshade and hemlock can be extremely harmful. When ingested they cause fever, vomiting and diarrhea. If found, ensure that these plants are removed and destroyed.
Other less-harmful plants can still be none-the-less painful and disorientating. Your vegie garden’s chillies, for example, if eaten or touched (before the child rubs their nose or eyes) can cause intense pain. If you have chillies or any other risky plants in your vegetable patch, it’s best to fence them off.
You can find a more complete list of Australia’s dangerous plants here.
2. Keep play equipment safe
It’s worth checking your child’s play equipment from time to time. Older equipment such as climbing gyms can become rusted and sharp. While screws can come loose on swings making them unsafe. Additionally spiders and other nasties can make their home in cubbies and sheltered areas.
Older trampolines are especially notorious for causing injuries. If you can, replace your old trampoline with a new netted model, or at the very least cover the springs with padding. Taking some precautions now can save a bouncing related dust-up later on.
3. Lock the garden shed
The garden shed can be filled with all sorts of things, which are dangerous to children.
These things include:
- Handsaws, axes, weed cutters & other sharp-edged tools
- Poisons such as insecticide & weed killers
- Lawnmowers, screw-drivers & power tools
- Small sharp objects like screws, nails & pins
Be sure to put away any tools or poisons away after use, and keep your shed firmly locked.
4. Teach animal safety
Pets can be great for kids. Many children form a significant bond with their childhood pet. And this bond can inform their ability to respect and care for animals throughout their entire lives.
Pets though, while domesticated, are still animals. As such children should be shown the right and wrong way to play with pets. For example, teach them how to pat the dog or cat, or explain why it’s important not to startle pets, especially if they’re eating, sleeping or with their young.
This educating your children about animals can extend to what to do should they come across a wild animal. For example, what to do if they come across possums, stray cats or snakes.
5. Ensure fencing is secure
A good quality fence can keep your children in and away from roads, gullies, and neighbours’ yards. It can also keep wild, stray and neighborhood animals away out of your yard. It’s your best line of defence against unsupervised or unwanted access/exit.
If your yard has a pool, a properly installed and maintained fence isn’t just vital for safety, it’s also required by law. Additionally there should be no areas where children can scale or climb over your pool’s fencing.
You can find out more about pool fencing in another of our blog articles: What You Need to Know When Building a Pool Fence
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