Making sure that your kids are safe while playing in the backyard requires you to pay attention to details as well as predict and prevent all the possible ways your child can get injured. These are some of the most important things you need to look out for if you want your kid to enjoy playing in the backyard completely safe and sound.
Ensure that your child understands the backyard rules
Firstly, you need to set some ground rules and boundaries. Talk to your kids about what’s safe and what isn’t. Ensure that they fully understand how important it is for them to follow these rules. After all, it’s for their safety.
For instance, if you have younger children one of the rules can be to always stay within sight. That way, you can supervise them and make sure they are safe. A bit older kids can have rules such as how high they can climb and which sections of the yard are off-limit.
Store lawn and garden tools in a secure place with locks and childproof latches
Don’t let your kids play close to any garden tools such as a lawn mower. It can be highly risky. So, make sure you store all of your gardening tools and chemicals as far away from your kids as possible. These tools may look like toys to your kids, but they can cause some serious injuries. That is why storing them away somewhere they can’t reach it is crucial if you want to have a safe backyard.
Some of the items you should store away are saws, mowers, pruning shears, and power tools. When it comes to the dangerous chemicals, things such as fertilizers, weed killers, disinfectants, insecticides, fuels, pesticides, swimming pool cleansers, and cleaning materials should also be far away from your children’s reach.
For instance, you can build a small shed where you can store away all of these objects and make sure your kids are safe and sound knowing that they can’t reach them.
Make sure any play structures are safe and secure
Just as much as the public playgrounds are required to get proper inspections, so does your home playground. This way you are ensuring the safety of your child. You need to check your play structure regularly to see if anything is out of place like loose guardrails and as rough boards.
It is advised you cover the whole playground area with a shock-absorbing material like mulch, sand, or rubber. Those materials will help your kids avoid any injuries while jumping or falling from the play structures.
Additionally, consider covering all protruding bolts in your backyard. This will protect your kids from numerous tripping hazards such as tree branches and rocks. Make sure they are all safely removed and that all the platforms and walkways are secured with guardrails so that your kids can’t fall through. The gap between the guardrails should be smaller than 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) or bigger than 9 inches (22.9 cm)
Don’t put more than two swings in the same section of the playground
Believe it or not, swigs can actually be the most dangerous and hazardous part of your playground. That is why you shouldn’t be placing more than two swings in the same section of your playground. Also, make sure the swing seats are made from soft rubber. Avoid using wooden seats.
Children mostly get injured by walking in front of a swing that is still in motion and getting hit in the face. Those injuries might not be such a huge problem if you ensure to use softer materials for your swings.
Lastly, try to avoid connecting ropes to your play structures. They have a high risk of causing strangulation.
Make sure any play structures, treehouses, or slides are a safe height
Pay attention to the height of your play structures. For instance, the platforms and slides have to be less than 6 feet tall for older kids. For younger ones, they should be shorter than 4 feet, especially for toddlers. If you plan on building a treehouse, make sure it’s at a proper height too. The closer it is to the ground the better. The treehouse should be less than 10 feet (3 m) in the air.
Also, on those especially hot summer days, you first need to check the temperature of the slides and swings before letting your kids play. Simply place your hand on the surface of the play structure and see if they are too hot to the touch.
Consider monitoring your children to ensure they are staying within their abilities. The approximate height they should climb is around the number of their age. For instance, if your kid is five years old their allowed height for climbing should be five feet.
Check your yard regularly for any hazards
Also, you need to check and see whether there are any hazards such as fallen tree limbs and other dangerous objects. Make sure you do these kinds of check-ups regularly. You can do them at the beginning of every season. All the areas in your backyard should be smooth and safe for playing. That is why investing in some high-quality artificial grass is one of the best decisions you could make. They’re easy to maintain and your kids will get to enjoy a soft ground they can play on.
Install a fence and alarm system around the pool
The pool can be an especially dangerous area for your kids. Drowning is actually a leading cause of death for kids under the age of five. That is why you must protect your kids around the pool area. Install fences that are at least 5 feet tall and make sure to surround the whole perimeter of your pool area.
Another great tip is to install a self-closing and self-latching gate and make sure the latches are out of the reach of your kids.
A pool alarm is an amazing feature that you should incorporate too. This alarm will alert you whenever anyone enters the pool or gets in the water.
Supervise children around pools and hot tubs
In addition to that, make sure you are always keeping a close look at your kids and supervising them at all times, especially around the pool or hot tub. Pay attention to their movement. Keep your phone and rescue equipment close all the time in case something happens.
When you’re not using them, always cover the hot tub and the pool with any type of hardcover that won’t buckle if someone enters. Soft covers are no good since they can trap water and lead to drowning.
Make sure you adjust the temperature of water in your hot tub as well. The temperature should never go over 104 degrees. By doing so, you will avoid the risk of an elevated body temperature which can especially be dangerous for kids. That’s why checking the temperature before your kids get in is crucial.
Test any treated wood for arsenic
Lastly, if your fences, deck, or picnic table contained treated wood, you need to get it checked for arsenic, a chemical that increases the risk of cancer.
Arsenic can be much more prevalent in older items. Its use has mostly been phased out since 2003. However, you can still purchase arsenic kits for around $20 at landscaping stores and home improvement. Most of the available test can get you results in 15 minutes and less.
In case your items turn out to be at risk for arsenic, replace the old wood with the new one, or choose a completely different material. Another option would be to seal the wood at least once a year. Make sure your kids aren’t paying on rough wooden surfaces since arsenic splinters are very dangerous.
Now that you know how to create the most pleasant and safest ambient for your kids, make sure you implement these tips carefully. In just a few steps, your kids can have their dream playground where they can be safe and sound.