You love your kids, so you want to keep them safe. Your home and yard should be the safest place in their world. Sadly, this is not always the case. For that reason, here are 5 simple ways to make your backyard safe for children.
#1. Enclose your yard
When you allow your children to play in the yard, you don’t want them running off somewhere without your knowledge or consent. You also don’t want to worry about dangerous wild animals or dogs getting into your garden. And you really don’t want some evil stranger gaining access to your kids. You need some sturdy form of physical barrier to keep them safe.
A tall wall, metal fence, or tall wooden fence can help keep your kids safe from harm. Brick or stone walls provide the best protection. They are the most resilient to damage. Being completely opaque, they can also stop perverts spying on your kids. However, stone or brick walls are the most expensive form of barrier and more difficult to erect than a fence. In some countries and states, planning permission will be required from local authorities before building a garden wall.
Wooden fences are the cheapest barrier and the easiest to erect. You can simply purchase ready-made sections from a garden center or Amazon. Usually they require no permission from local authorities. But they are the easiest to break through and also don’t last as long as other kinds of barriers. Worst of all, kids have a knack for injuring themselves when given any excuse, and wooden fences are a great source of splinters.
When you erect a fence, you must ensure there is no way a large animal like a dog could crawl under the fence. Your wall or fence should enclose the whole of your backyard without gaps unless you have a garden gate. Ideally, garden gates should be lockable with a padlock hasp combination.
#2. Kid-proof your pond or swimming pool
Both outdoor swimming pools and garden ponds are awesome, but sadly they can provide a major safety hazard when you have young children at home. Ponds are especially dangerous in winter. When they ice over, children love to walk and then jump on the ice. If the ice is too thin, they will fall through. In particularly bad circumstances with larger ponds, they might become trapped beneath the ice.
Until your kids are old enough to comprehend the danger of water, you must protect them. The easiest form of protection is a pool cover. A sturdy cover will make it impossible for your kids to fall in. Covers also offer the advantage of keeping out dead leaves and other debris over winter.
Alternatively, a fence around the pond will keep your kids out. If your child is particularly persistent, the worst-case scenario is that you will be forced to drain your swimming pool or fill in your pond until your children are a little older.
#3. Provide a kid-friendly ground surface
Everyone knows that kids love rough and tumble. That means that your child is liable to frequently fall in your yard. If the ground is uneven, they are more likely to tumble. If there are sharp rocks, you should expect many visits to the ER.
An easy way to avoid too many injuries is to provide your child with a surface that won’t hurt them so easily when they fall. Good-quality decking not only looks good but is also anti-slip and does not leave barefoot kids with splinters.
A level lawn provides a relatively safe surface for children to play. If your lawn is uneven and gets muddy in rainy weather, you could consider installing artificial grass that is flat, doesn’t get soggy, and doesn’t become muddy and slippery.
#4. Remove anything dangerous to your child
Children, especially toddlers, get everywhere. It’s difficult to stop them from getting their grubby paws on things they shouldn’t be handling. Many decorative garden plants are poisonous. Some are simply prickly. You should be aware if there are any plants in your yard that could potentially poison your kids.
Dangerous ornamental plants include:
- Water hemlock
- Dumb cane
- Desert rose
- Elephant ear
- Poison ivy
- Angel’s trumpet
The best way to approach this is to minimize the number of ornamental plants in your yard and to ensure that the ones you have growing there are safe, such as daisies, sunflowers, and lavenders.
Another thing to worry about is your tools. This includes both your yard tools and your other household tools. Ensure you keep tools locked away in a garden shed. Your kids will view a lawnmower as a shiny new toy until they lose a finger. Avoid this issue by ensuring you always lock everything away.
#5. Create child-safe areas
Many backyards are too large to ensure that the whole area is kid-friendly. Other yards have taken years to create and you won’t want to destroy them completely for your kids. If this sounds like you, create a child-safe area.
Simply fence off a section of your yard and only let your kids play there. The easiest way to do this is to create a yard within a yard around your backdoor. Have a small fenced-in area around your backdoor that is completely safe, with a kid-proof ground surface, no dangerous plants, and a tall fence. You can have a gate exiting this small inner yard to access your outer larger yard, but make sure that the gate is locked.
In your safe area, you can install a sandbox and all the traditional children’s yard toys, such as a swing and slide set. You can even encourage your kids to love nature and gardening as much as you do by creating a small vegetable or flower plot that they plant for themselves (under your very close supervision). This will teach your children about nature, the life cycle of plants, and where all your food comes from.