As every parent knows, you need only to look away for a moment for your child to get hurt or have an accident of some sort. And with extra time being spent outside during the summer months, those risks can increase.
There are several specific areas of the backyard that pose particular risks to children. We’ve rounded up ways you can safeguard your backyard to minimize those risks.
Believe it or not, kids are involved in nearly 68,000 lawn mower injuries in the U.S. annually, says Consumer Reports. From cuts to burns to crushed and broken bones all the way to lost body parts, lawn mowers can be extremely dangerous to children.
To ensure your child is safe from mower injuries, store your lawn mower and all other powered lawn equipment in a garage or shed that locks; keep mower gas locked away; make your child stay indoors when you are mowing the lawn and don’t ever let them ride with you. And it is also recommended to not allow a child to mow the lawn until the age of 14, and never let them do it without wearing ear and eye protection.
To keep weeds at bay, the use of pesticides is effective. However, these chemicals can also be dangerous to children if swallowed, inhaled or in contact with the eyes or skin. A study by the EPA indicated that nearly 50 percent of homes with kids under the age of five also have one or more pesticides held in an unlocked area where it can be easily reached.
To avoid accidents, store all chemicals in a locked cabinet where kids can’t reach them. Further, don’t ever pour them into cups or bottles of which your child may consider drinking out of. Before using pesticides on your lawn, ensure your kids, pets and any toys are removed, and be sure they stay away for a full two days. To take extra precaution, consider using non-chemical pesticides for weed control in your lawn. Additionally, keep poisonous plants fenced in and always have the number for Poison Control handy.
Summer is the time when bugs are aplenty. Though most bug bites aren’t severe, allergic reactions can always occur — and can even be deadly. To help keep the bugs away from your little ones, go easy on the fragrant soaps, shampoos and hair sprays, and always keep food covered when it’s outdoors. You may also want to avoid lawn ornaments that contain water, such as birdbaths, which often attract bugs.
If you have specific play areas in your backyard, consider avoiding hard and dangerous surfaces like gravel and brick, which can be painful when falling (gravel also poses a choking hazard). Instead, opt for grass, either natural or artificial, or padded foam, which offers a cushion for any falls that may occur.