As adults, it’s easy to overlook the potential hazards in our yards and gardens. But the truth is, accidents will happen, but many are preventable. To minimize problems and maximize safety, here are some child safety tips for yard and garden.
Garden chemicals like weed killers, pesticides, and synthetic fertilizers should be kept well away from the reach of children. Those warnings aren’t on the containers for nothing!
I prefer to you garden organically and promote similar practices here on Freetail Therapy, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a safety risk,. Organic fertilizers and compost are definitely not healthy to ingest. Garden lime and diatomaceous earth are other natural products that are harmful if swallowed or inhaled.
If you treat your lawn with fertilizer, pesticides, or other chemicals, keep children off of the lawn for at least 48 hours.
So many yard and garden tools are sharp, or can cause injury. Hoe handles, for instance, can inflict a nasty head wound if a child steps on the head of one that’s lying on the ground. And of course, sharp tools like clippers, hedge trimmers, saws, and scythes need to be kept far out of reach. Hanging them on a tool board in the garage is not safe enough. The sharp stuff should be in a locked shed or supply closet. A simple lock from the Dollar Tree will allow you to safely keep them out of reach of littles, without costing a fortune to do so.
For some reason, children seem to love climbing on ladders. This can be very dangerous. Make sure you put all ladders away, whether they are small stepladders or large, A-frame ladders. Store them where children cannot drag them out and set them up. Even if they don’t get them set up and climb them, folding ladders can inflict injuries to fingers and hands due to the nature of the folding joints. I know that some people like to decorate with ladders, by placing planters on the steps. If you decide to decorate your yard in this manner, you might want to think about adding a small fence or hedges around the outside of it.
Children under 12 should not operate push-type, gas-powered lawn mowers, say experts. And no child under the age of 16 should be on a riding mower, even as a “passenger” while an adult drives. Most mower injuries occur to children below these age groups. For younger kids, clearing the yard of toys and sticks before the adult mows is the safest mowing-related yard chore.
For crawling babies and toddlers, ponds can pose a drowning hazard, as can fountains. And children are so attracted to these water features that a fence is really the best option.
Many of us make a habit out of munching on the fruits of our labors in the garden. Children see us eating from the plants we are growing, but are unable to tell them apart, so they taste test everything. Combined with education on plant identification and stressing the importance of not eating things until we know for sure what they are and that they are safe, you will want to make certain than there are no toxic plants on your property. If there are, replace them or fence them off so your baby or child cannot ingest them.