It’s wonderful when the weather gets warm and children can enjoy the outdoors. Your backyard can be a great place to play. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your yard safe for children.
If your yard is not fenced, teach your children the boundaries where it is safe to play. Always have a responsible person supervise outdoor play.
Teach your child never to pick up and eat anything they find outdoors (even if it is from your garden) without checking with you first. You should also check to see if any of the plants in your yard are poisonous. Don’t allow children to play on a lawn that has been treated with pesticides or herbicides for at least 48 hours. Read the instructions on all such products before using. Your local Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222) should be able to provide a list of poisonous plants common to your area.
Never use a power lawn mower when young children are around. The mower may throw sticks or stones with enough force to injure them. Never have your child sit on your lap while you are driving. Keep young children inside when the lawn is being mowed.
Keep children away from outdoor grills and explain that it is hot like the kitchen stove. Never leave the grill unattended when young children are around. Store propane grills so your child cannot reach the knobs. Be sure charcoal is cold before being disposed of.
Keep swing sets, slides and other play equipment in good repair. Injuries might occur from contact with broken plastic, exposed nails, splintered wood. Young children should always be supervised when playing on this equipment. The surface below play equipment should be soft enough to absorb a fall. Use safety tested mats or shredded rubber, sand, woodchips or bark. The material should be at least 9 inches deep and extend at least 6 feet from equipment.
Keep all lawn chemicals, gas and oil containers, pesticides and fertilizers locked. All lawn equipment, saws, rakes, shovels, hammers should also be inaccessible to children.
Clothing should be appropriate for the weather and closed toe shoes should be worn with socks. Clogs and sandals are easy to trip in and do not provide adequate protection from bugs and splinters.
Finally, be sure that your child is wearing sunscreen when outside.
Also provide frequent water breaks on hot days.
Backyards are wonderful places to be enjoyed by children. Please keep yours safe.
Article written by Sue Gaston, M.D.