How to transform your backyard and make it safer for children?
A backyard in the summertime can be the best place in the world to relax with family and friends. Most backyard accidents are caused when doing gardening work like mowing or cutting branches, but many children are getting hurt through poor safety standards in the garden. We like to spend most of the summer days in the garden so we should take the same approach we would when looking at safety in the home. We have put together a few pointers to help you bring your yard up to scratch and make it a safe area for adults and children in the summertime.
Play areas with swings
Many young families like to have a designated play area for their children at home, as some local parks are not as clean or tidy. It can be a real comfort having your children playing where you can see them, but some care needs to be taken when making play areas. Most accidents happen on swings, so keeping the swings away from walkways and paths will help eliminate the problem. Building a small fence around the play area will also help to keep the play area and the rest of the yard separate. A soft floor is always a good idea, so look at putting in wood chippings or a similar covering down to help lessen any impacts when children fall over.
Toys and ball games
There is no better feeling than playing ball games in your backyard in summer. The dangers with ball games are apparent, it is advised to keep any soccer goals away from buildings and windows. Make sure you have a fence in place which will stop any stray balls from damaging the neighbours’ property. A trampoline is a popular addition in backyards and can be great fun. A trampoline should be away from buildings and where people sit and should have adequate fencing to stop children from bouncing off.
Swimming pools can be dangerous for adults as well as children. The pool should always be supervised by a competent swimmer when anyone is using it. Make sure to check with your local authority regarding pool rules, a fence or wall should be erected to stop people falling in unexpectedly. Although private pools usually are quite small it is wise to keep some ring lifesavers about to throw should anyone be in trouble while swimming.
Plants, trees and shrubs
Having a garden that is attractive to birds and bees is always a bonus when it comes to promoting a healthy ecosystem in your very own backyard. Not to mention that is also aesthetically pleasing. Choosing plants and trees which will be low maintenance and cause no issues for anyone using the yard. Keeping trees trimmed in the proper months will help to ensure that no branches fall off in heavy winds. Allergies is another major area where families should put some thought into what they plan to grow. Where possible, you can plant low allergen plants, reducing the risk of any unwanted reactions by any of your children or their friends. These would be plants like the bottlebrush which can endure dry summers, wet winters and are tolerant to frost.
BBQ and outside cooking
The most dangerous room in any household is the kitchen, and an outside cooking space can be just as dangerous for your children. Choose a place in your yard which is sheltered but close to any buildings or overhanging trees. When possible, it is good to build a wall around the cooking space which will limit people coming into contact with hot surfaces or sharp knives. Be sure to keep any gas in a secure, cool place where children can’t reach it. If using coal on your BBQ, you should ensure it is completely extinguished with no embers before disposing of. Try to do any knife work in the kitchen before cooking outside, to limit how many sharp objects are out in the open. BBQ safety needs to adhered to until all the cooking surfaces have cooled and sharp objects have been put away.
It will be impossible to eliminate all the risks to children in your backyard, but with a little thought, you can make it safer while keeping it looking good. State governments will have information on what they expect along with advice to make your play space safer. If you have play areas, swimming pools or trampolines you should speak with the suppliers for best practices for installing and use.