It might be miserable and cold out in the open right now, but once we get over the holiday season, it’s going to start lightening up, and spring will be just around the corner. And once the sun is out for a little longer each day, and the temperature rises, there’s no doubt the kids will be out having garden fun.
But how safe is your garden? Sure, you might have trimmed back all your thorny rose bushes, and made sure that all the holes in your boundary areas are repaired and blocked so the kids can’t sneak out. But there are plenty more dangers that lurk in your backyard.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most significant issues to watch out for when it comes to providing your little ones with a safe and harmless garden space.
Upgrade your boundaries
Fences and boundaries are usually for keeping people out. But like we discussed above, when you have kids, it’s a case of keeping them inside! There are plenty of other things to think about, too. But let’s be honest, how many of us pay close attention to the state of our backyard boundaries? Holes in bushes, fences in severe states of repair, and even crumbling, unstable brick walls are all significant dangers to interested little folks. The winter season is probably the best time to make some boundary checks, not least because most of your plants and shrubs will be hiding away from the cold weather. So, wrap up warm, get out and inspect your boundaries, and make sure you get things fixed before the days start to get longer.
The big pet clean up
Do you have a dog? If so, how convinced are you that there is zero dog dirt out in your garden right now? Most responsible dog owners will have a handle on where their pooch poops, and clean up accordingly. But there’s always the possibility of a hidden ‘landmine,’ lying somewhere under a bush or in a covered area. Jokes aside, everyone knows how dangerous dog dirt can be, and there are some horrendous stories of children going blind and coming into contact with it. So, get into the habit of checking outside for your four-legged friend’s dirty business at least once or twice a week. And be thorough – your kids can access more small areas than you can.
Lock up the tools
Every household has a large selection of garden tools that could prove lethal in the wrong hands. And if you are a little absent-minded, it’s not difficult to forget that if your kids grab hold of a rake, a pair of shears, or some secateurs, it could result in an uncomfortable injury and a while in a hospital bed. If you don’t have a shed, get one – and don’t forget to keep it locked at all times. In fact, even if you don’t have kids, make sure your garden tools are well out of sight. If burglars see anything hard and easy to wield, they’ll use it on your windows – so keep that garden clear!
Keep machines in good working order
You won’t need me to tell you how much a child could do themselves with a high-powered chainsaw or even a simple lawnmower. They should be kept well away from any electrical gear – as you probably already do. However, could you say for sure whether your electrical garden gear is in good order? From frayed or broken power leads to faulty or loose blades, they could be posing a risk to your kids – even if you are careful. Using power tools in the garden is a noisy business, and there’s no way you can guarantee your kids won’t want to see what you are doing. What if they stand on the cable with exposed wires? What if a loose blade flies off at the wrong moment? And what happens if your equipment’s safety catch is faulty? As pointed out over at planopower.com, garden equipment that has been tested for quality, safety and durability is your best guarantee. And make sure you are servicing your gear, too, to ensure your – and your children’s – safety.
Secure your pond
Ponds are a fantastic addition to any garden, and a source of constant attraction for your kids. But they just aren’t safe enough to leave exposed when you have little ones, who could easily fall in and end up having a terrible accident. And even if you have a shallow pond no higher than a baby’s knee, you need to be wary. The fact is that it only takes an inch or two of water for a fully grown adult to drown, let alone a child. So, if you have a pond, secure it with a grate, grid, or thick and strong netting. You’ll need to keep these secure covers on at least until your children are old enough to understand water safety – and possibly even longer.
Give them their own space
Sandboxes, play areas, artificial turf – all make excellent places for your kids to spend the majority of their time in the garden, and keep them from causing damage to your wildlife or themselves. The reality, of course, is that they will wander off at some point and try to explore, so by no means does having a specific child’s play area in the backyard enough. But, as long as you follow the steps above, it won’t matter – and your little ones will be more than safe. It doesn’t have to take up a tremendous amount of space, either, and should keep them occupied and entertained while you potter about doing your gardening tasks.
How do you keep your little ones safe when they are out playing in the garden? Do you keep them well within arm’s reach or let them have a little freedom to explore their environment, and maybe even climb a tree or two? Why not share your thoughts with everyone else by leaving a comment in the section below?