Unfortunately, most children’s injuries happen at home, supposedly the safest place for a kid to be. Follow these guidelines to make sure your backyard is a safe environment for them!
1. Supervision – always have a responsible person watch your children at play.
2. Boundaries – if your backyard is not fenced, teach your children the area within which they can play.
3. Play equipment
Falls cause most injuries among children. A tree house shouldn’t be higher than 10 feet in the air. Under all play equipment and tree houses there should be fall-absorbing safety flooring for the given maximal fall height. It should be installed as directed, not to cause stumbling hazard.
Make sure all ramps and platforms have guard rails. Do not attach any cords or clotheslines to the play set to avoid strangulation. Never move play equipment indoors for children to play on hard (although carpeted) floor.
4. Swings – most home playground injuries happen around a swing. Do not hang more than two swing seats together. Swing seats should be made of soft rubber, not wood. All protruding elements should be covered.
5. Trampoline – experts advise against having a trampoline in the backyard. It is a great risk factor, even when properly supervised and fenced.
6. Tripping – collect rocks and eliminate all tripping hazards in your backyard such as tree stumps. Never leave garden tools unattended. Store all garden tools pointing downward.
7. Pool – for children under 5, drowning is a leading cause of death. Always supervise your kids playing in or around the pool and have a telephone at hand. Use a locked cover when the pool is not used, and have a complete fence around it, at least 4 feet high, with a gate closing and latching on its own.
8. Barbecue grill – keep it at least 10 feet away from any objects, bushes and house walls. Screen the grill so that your children can’t touch it. And obviously, never use the grill indoors.
9. Plants and poisons – clear your backyard of any poisonous plants. Teach your children never to put any plants, flowers and berries in their mouth without your permission. If you use pesticides or herbicides on your lawn or garden, read the instructions carefully. Do not let your children play on it for the next 48 hours. Always lock up poisonous products out of sight and reach of children.
10. Lawn mowers – do not use a power mower when young children are around – they might get hit by sticks and stones thrown by the mower. Under no condition should you let your children sit on a riding mower (even when you are riding) or play on it. No children under 12 should mow the lawn. The mower should, like any other tools, be kept out of reach of children.