Tips for Preparing Your Kids and Backyard for Safe Outdoor Play
It’s been another long, cold winter cooped up inside with your kids, trying to find things for them to do that don’t involve hours of video games. With spring right around the corner, they’re probably champing at the bit to get back outside, so they can run around in the grass and burn off all that pent-up energy.
No doubt most parents are looking forward to the same thing. But before you turn them loose in the yard and on the playground, take the time to discuss outdoor safety with your kids. Remind them about poisonous plants, pesticides, stinging insects (especially if they’re allergic to bee stings), and how to use outdoor toys and play equipment safely. A careful reminder can make the difference between hours of fun and good exercise, and a trip to the emergency room.
Heads and kneecaps
If your children love to roller skate or tear up and down the sidewalk or driveway on bikes and skateboards, make sure they all have safety helmets that fit properly and that can be securely fastened. Knee pads are also important for preventing cuts and bruises and should always be worn. Be sure to emphasize the importance of staying out of the street and as far away from moving vehicles as possible.
A safe play environment
Take every precaution to ensure your kids have a safe environment in which to play, and reinforce the importance of staying away from any gardening/outdoor tools, the pool (if you have one), grill and any part of your yard that may cause injuries, such as a twisted ankle or a knocked head from a low branch. Your pool should be covered with a tarp or some kind of strong mesh material, and the security fence around it carefully locked. Keep your hedge clippers, axes, garden shears, lawn mower and gardening tools locked away in your shed or garage. If you have a gas grill, keep it covered and make sure the controls are inaccessible to children. Be careful to keep kids away from any poisonous plants and help them identify poison ivy and oak.
Remember, the safest way to handle pests in gardens, yards and homes is to use insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils and natural ingredients to keep them at bay. If you’re growing a garden, avoid using pesticides to keep your food safe for your entire family. Don’t forget that young children should always be carefully supervised by a responsible adult.
Jungle gym & playground equipment
More than 200,000 children are taken to emergency rooms every year as a result of playground accidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Be aware that your backyard jungle gym, swing set, seesaw or slide may have sustained damage during the winter. Inspect it carefully for loose bolts, rotted and weakened wooden support beams, or any pieces of jagged metal.
Go over safety rules with your children so they know to use the slide one at a time, not to stand in front of swing, and not to allow more than one kid at a time on the jungle gym. If you have a trampoline, limit it to no more than three children at a time and make sure there’s a safety fence around it to prevent falls and other accidents.
Bugs and critters
Children should be alerted to stay away from bees, wasps, hornets and other stinging or biting insects, and told not to go near any holes or nests that may contain an animal. If your child has an allergy to bee stings, check with their pediatrician so you know what to do in case there’s an adverse reaction. Be sure to check our children for ticks when they come inside and have them take a warm shower as soon as possible.
Accidents can happen anywhere, even in your own backyard. Make sure your children understand how easily they can be hurt. Most importantly, monitor them so you can prevent accidents resulting from unsafe play.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.