With summer on in full swing, you certainly want your kids to make the most of the long days by playing outside. All the same, you’re worried if they’ll end up hurting themselves!
While getting nicks and scratches is unavoidable, you can’t have your children hurt themselves bad. Considering that so many children end up in hospital emergency rooms due to playground-related injuries each year, it is understandable why you’re hesitant of letting your kids have their share of fun.
But you’ve got nothing to be anxious about; if you have a child-safe play area, your kids are sure to be fine! If you’re ready to know how to have a kid-safe garden or backyard for your kids, read on for 5 easy tips.
Clear the Ground of Potential Hazards
Several playground injuries are caused by falls and as such, ensuring the ground is free of potential hazards is the first step you should take in making the play area safe for kids.
Start with clearing all stones and sharp objects from the play area. Also remove ropes, leashes, clotheslines, etc. as these pose strangulation hazards. Be sure to keep lawn mowers, pesticides, and gardening tools under lock and key well away from the play area.
Avoid using pesticides and other chemicals right before play time or while kids are playing in the garden. Ensure you’re not growing any dangerous plants like cacti or toxic plants like oleander in your garden.
Surface the Ground Properly
Several playground injuries are caused by falls and as such, ensuring the ground is safe to play on should be the first step to take in making the play area safe for kids.
Avoid having asphalt or concrete surfaces as these can result in serious fall-related injuries.
Grass can help absorb shock but can wear out and over time and become ineffective. A great way to cushion falls is to use protective surfacing beneath grass or synthetic turf to a depth of 6-12 inches. Mulch, wood chips or fibers, pea gravel, sand, shredded tires, and rubber mats all work well as a cushioning material.
Remember to use protective surfacing around all playground equipment like swings and slides.
Make Sure the Equipment is Safe
Younger kids can get hurt when playing on equipment made for older kids, so be sure to buy age-appropriate equipment for your kids. If you have kids of different age groups, have a separate play area for kids under 5 years of age so that everyone is safe.
Apart from being age-appropriate, playground equipment should be safe for kids in every way. Whether you buy new or preloved items, make sure they are in compliance with children’s product safety rules.
Check all equipment before using and regularly after installation for loose or exposed screws and bolts. Rusted screws and sharp edges or joints can be dangerous and should be scraped away or covered with protective rubber immediately. Be wary of open ‘S’ hooks and other pointed protrusions that can entangle with clothing and pose strangulation hazards. Close open hooks as tight as possible and file away or cover pointed protrusions to prevent accidents.
Additionally, avoid using equipment that has deteriorated or corroded structural components that connect to the ground. Also, refrain from buying equipment that has been made using pressure treated wood. Repair or replace equipment with decayed wood components, splinters, or broken handholds or guardrails.
Watch out for Pool Hazards
If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, you should have 4 feet high walls or fencing around the pool. Install self-closing and self-latching gates that open outwards for added safety. Latches and locks should be fitted out of reach of children.
Further, objects like chairs and stools that children can use to climb over the fence should be kept away. Steps or ladders for pools that are raised above the ground should be removed or secured when not in use.
It is possible for kids to drown in water that is only a couple of inches deep. So if you have shallow water features like fish ponds in your backyard, make sure they are fenced or covered when kids are out there.
Provide Some Shade
You don’t want your kids to get more sun exposure than is required while they’re out playing in the garden or backyard. Not only will they get tanned excessively, they could also fall seriously ill. So build a little shade outside where kids can get relief from the sun.
Apply sunscreen on kids 20-30 minutes before they head out to play. Keep reapplying sunscreen every couple of hours as it can rub off easily with sweat. Also encourage kids to wear a wide-brimmed hat while they’re playing out in the sun.
Have kids drink enough water before they head out to play and keep reminding them to drink water regularly. Most importantly, teach kids to get indoors as soon as they feel overheated.
When it comes to the safety of your kids, prevention is always better than cure. So ensure that you never let your kids play outside unsupervised. Of course, you can only be so careful, which is why taking a few safety tips into consideration will help!
With the tips given here, you now know what you need to do to make your garden or backyard safe for your kids. So get started as soon as you can and give your little ones a safe play area!