Your backyard is likely a favorite spot for your kids to play. As a responsible parent, you want to make sure it is also a safe space for your kids. The following are five things you need to do to make sure your backyard has as few safety hazards as possible.
#1: Secure outlets and faucets
Most parents would never leave an exposed outlet in the house due to the electrocution hazard to their child, but it is easier to overlook such hazards outdoors. Place safety covers over all outdoor electrical outlets. Also, make sure faucets have a cover on them – a young child can drown in just a couple of inches of water. Finally, look for anything else that could pose a hazard if left uncovered, such as the gas controls for a built-in barbecue.
#2: Switch to softer landscaping
Landscape can also be a major danger. Grass is much better at cushioning falls than bare ground beneath play areas. You can also use a soft mulch, artificial turf, or outdoor play padding. You may also want to avoid any hard landscape boulders, concrete benches, or statuary near the main play areas.
#3: Lock up hazards
Most major hazards should remain under lock and key. This means locking up yard and garden tools, fertilizers, and pesticides in a shed or storage box. Things for the grill, such as propane tanks, lighter fluid, and lighters, should also be locked up. Don't overlook bigger hazards, as well. Pools need to be fenced, hot tubs need locking lids, and ponds and fountains should have a safety net installed over them.
#4: Know your landscape plants
Some landscape plants may be beautiful and common, but they can also be deadly. As a general rule, avoid any plant that produces berries or fruit unless the fruits are completely edible. The temptation of a bright red oleander berry, for example, can prove fatal. Check that any plant you are adding isn't a major danger. Some of the most deadly plants for children include foxglove, yew, daphne, and some lily varieties.
#5: Upgrade your perimeter fencing
Your fence is your major line of defense in keeping your kids safe – not only does it keep out dangers, but it also prevents your kids from wandering off. Upgrade to a fence with smooth pickets and no gaps, such as vinyl fencing. Any support beams should be on the outside so that your child can't use them to climb the fence. Also, make sure there is no gap beneath the fence that a small child can squeeze through. A local fencing company can help you design a safe yet attractive fence.
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