Unintentional accidents are one of the primary causes of death among children, and that’s why you’ve probably childproofed the inside of your home the best you can. Everything from cabinet locks to outlet covers helps keep kids safer inside your home, but what about the outside? Outdoor spaces can prove as hazardous to curious kids as being indoors, and that’s why you need to childproof that part of your property, too. Doing so helps keep your children safe while providing you peace of mind.
Kids don’t just want to play; they need to play to develop and grow. They learn about the world, improve their minds, and boost their physical coordination and motor development. Fresh air and sunshine are also healthy, too. If they spend time outdoors, they need to have as safe an environment as possible.
Drowning is the primary cause of death for children between the ages of 1 through 4. Accidental injuries are the primary cause of death for kids up to 14, and over 30% of them happen right at home. Many kids spend most of their time at home, and that’s why it’s the most likely place for them to be hurt or killed.
You might view your home from the outside as a place you need to mow regularly, but you need to see it from the point of view of your kids. Crawl around on your hands and knees for a few moments for their perspective on the world. If not, at least squat down low or sit and think about how a backyard was for you when you were a kid.
Safety proofing the outside of your home can involve multiple steps, but they can also add up to creating an environment safer for your kids and more relaxing for you. However, you do need to know where to start.
Pests might be a source of injury, but they’re likely to cause illness and irritation to both kids and pets alike. Keep pests away from your home with zappers, candles, and patio fans, or build a bird or bat house to lure in winged animals that dine on bugs and insects. Plant landscaping varieties that bugs hate, or paint your home in lighter colors. Always remove standing water, and keep your yard tidy, mowed, and trim with proper mulch levels.
A garden hose exposed to constant sunlight on a hot day can become a burning hazard to anyone touching it. Young kids won’t understand not to do this. Store your hoses in the shade, and run water to cool them down.
Plants might sit where they’re rooted, but they can be dangerous. Mushrooms and oleander can be poisonous, prickly plants can tear open human skin, and fruiting plants might have pits that become choking hazards.
Slides and swings that wobble need proper anchorage for stability. Check on them after it rains so you know they’re still sturdy enough, even when the ground is wet.
Look for sharp edges on outdoor furniture, and then cushion them with padding. Even better, pick your outdoor furniture when shopping by keeping curious and active kiddies in mind.
Ensure that outdoor play areas have a soft ground cover. Brick, concrete, and gravel can hurt kids and adults alike, but padded foam, grass, and faux turf are much nicer to land on.
Storage sheds and closets or your garage might slip your mind between childproofing inside and outside your home. Ensure your garage door is always in working order and has the safety features to prevent crushing a child. Make sure that dangerous items and chemicals are kept locked up where kids can’t access them, including anything flammable being away from ignition sources. Everything from poisons to pool supplies needs to be kept secured. Even empty containers and buckets must remain out of reach of small children who might drown in them.
Childproofing is crucial to reducing harm to your kids, but you can’t prevent everything from happening. Kids can move fast when curiosity strikes them, but the proper safety measures can still give you some peace of mind. This is especially true in outdoor spaces you want to enjoy with your family.
Written by Taylor McKnight, Author for Patio Patrol