Is Your Garden Toddler Proof?
It’s almost summer, which means your toddler will soon be running around the backyard in bare feet ready to explore and get dirty. This time of year is great for kids since they can run and play and soak up the sun to their heart’s content. The problem is that many parents work hard to baby proof their home but don’t think to make sure their yard is safe.
If you haven’t taken the time to make sure your yard and garden are toddler proof, or if it has just been a while since you made sure things were safe, now is the time to do it. You want to be able to let your toddler play outside without worrying about hidden dangers and with these tips you can.
Use a Safety Gate
You can make your yard a safer place to play, but you can’t replace your direct supervision. When your kids are outside, they face new dangers and you can’t control the environment as much as you can inside, so never leave your child alone in the yard.
To keep little ones from wandering outside without you, use doorknob covers and when the door is open, set up a safety gate. Even when you’re just going in and out during a barbecue or while watering the garden, your child can slip outside. Using a baby gate is a great way to leave your door open without putting your child at risk.
If you have a patio, sunroom or deck, you can also use a baby gate to keep your little one close by. In most cases, you can use a pressure-mounted gate so you can easily move it around and take it inside. But, if you need to block off stairs, use a hardware-mounted model and never use a u-frame baby gate here.
Keep things in the Yard
The very first thing you should do is keep things contained in your yard. If possible, fence in your yard to keep your little one in safe areas and keep other things out. A fence is a simple way to keep your child from wandering away, walking into the street and getting lost. It will also help keep things like neighbour dogs and even strangers out of your yard, keeping your child safe.
If you aren’t able to fence in your entire yard, consider setting up a shorter fence that blocks off a safe space for your child. You can set up a fence that isn’t anchored into the ground but forms a sturdy barrier and an area where your child can play and you won’t worry that he’ll wander away.
But, fences and barriers should be used for more than just keeping things in your yard. Also use them to block off dangerous areas. For example, you should block off a swimming pool, garden beds, barbecue grills, fire pits and other dangerous spaces. You can use temporary fencing in many of these spaces so you can easily access things and take the fence down when your toddler is older.
Think Green and Safe
You already know that some garden features and areas can be dangerous for your child, but did you know that some plants can also be dangerous? Go outside into your yard and take note of any plants that pose a risk to your child or areas where you don’t want little hands digging and playing.
For example, rose bushes or shrubs with thorns can be dangerous for little ones, so consider adding a fence or even just small retaining wall to keep your child safer. Other plants you should block off include poisonous plants or plants that are particularly fragile and won’t do well with rough play.
You can also use this tip to keep your vegetable garden or flowerbeds in top condition. With a small fence or retaining wall, excited kids won’t trample through your garden and your vegetable patch won’t look like an extra big sandbox.
Use the Right Toys and Playground Equipment
It’s very important to use toys and playground equipment that is suitable for your child’s age. As your toddler grows, different kinds of toys will be safe for her. For example, smaller children need a swing with a harness strap while older kids won’t need one. Before you buy any toys or playground equipment read the manufacturer’s guidelines to see if it’s okay for your child’s age.
Then, when you set up toys, make sure you put them together the right way so they will be safe for your child. Be careful about where you decide to set things up. Pay special attention to where slides end, make sure toys have enough space around them and always set up playground equipment on a level surface.
Take care of your outdoor toys by putting them away or in a container when your child isn’t using them and to protect them from rain, sun and wind. Cover or put playground toys in a shed during the winter to keep them in great shape.
Despite all your efforts to keep your child safe in your backyard, your child could still find himself in dangerous situations. One of the best things you can do is spend time, formally or informally, talking about safety.
Teach your child never to go outside without asking you first and to never talk with or go with someone he doesn’t know. It’s also important to teach your child the safe way to use different toys and equipment. For example, teach your child how to sit safely on the swings and hold on and how to make sure the way is clear before he goes down the slide.
When your backyard is toddler proof, your child can freely play, explore and enjoy the warm summer weather. She’ll have a blast on the swing set, in the wading pool and just playing in the grass and you’ll be able to spend quality time with her without the constant worry that she isn’t safe.
Get more tips and advice from Lindam at: www.lindam.com
Lindam, for the safest start in life.