Playing in the backyard is a popular pastime for children in the summertime. Just like every activity for your child, you want them to be safe and protected. There are
numerous precautions you can take to childproof your backyard for safe play.
According to our pediatrician, it is important to do the following to protect your child from harm:
- Carefully inspect your playground equipment. It is recommended that you have a proper shock-absorbing surface underneath your playground. Also, be sure that the play set is properly anchored to the ground, that surfaces are smooth, that there are no protruding bolts and that all “S” shaped hooks are closed all of the way.
- If you have a sandbox for your child, you will want to line it with landscape fabric to prevent weeds from growing up and to simplify water drainage. Covering the sandbox is also a good idea in order to keep pets and rodents, as well as their droppings, out of the sandbox.
- Be sure all landscape supplies and equipment are stored and secured in a locked shed.
- Pools are vital when it comes to backyard safety. Be sure your pool is properly barricaded. Install a fence that is at least four feet tall and make sure there are no weak areas that your child can squeeze through. The gate to the pool should also have a self-locking mechanism so that your child cannot open it. Pool alarms can be purchased to alert you if your child has opened the gate or if someone has fallen into the pool. Remove steps and ladders if the pool is not in use.
- Check the fences in your yard. Be sure there is no loose hardware, splinters and missing slats.
- Outdoor furniture should be checked to make sure it is sturdy and safe. Garden swings should properly be secured to the ground.
- Outdoor electric outlets should have childproof outlets so that your child cannot open it.
- An outdoor grill or barbecue should be stored and secured when not in use. Propane tanks, matches and lighter fluid, as well as sharp utensils, should not be accessible to your child at any time. Also, never leave the cooking area unsupervised when using the grill.
- A simple outdoor safety precaution is to ensure your child wears proper footwear and snug fit clothing. Clothing that is loose fit or has drawstrings and accessories can easily become caught on play equipment.
- Talk to your child about rules and boundaries when playing outside. This can help your child play safe by establishing areas that are off limits, rules for slides, play equipment and other toys.
- Check out the plants in your backyard to be sure none of them are poisonous.
Supervising your child is also greatly recommended to avoid backyard play injuries. Although we can take many measures to ensure our child is safe, injuries can still occur that are out of our control. If you believe your child has suffered an injury, always contact your pediatrician immediately.