Wouldn’t you like to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from letting your kids play outside to their hearts’ content? The good news is, you can. Take steps today to create a safe and enjoyable outdoor space where your little ones will love to spend time, and you’ll also love to let them. How can you do this? What goes into a safe backyard? How can you make sure yours is protected? When you want to ensure the security of your outdoor space, here is a checklist to follow.
- Identify potential hazards: Whether poisonous plants or sharp gardening equipment, potential hazards are likely sitting in your yard in some form. Take time to inspect your outdoor space, looking for danger. Ask yourself, if you were a child, what might you reach for, grab, play with or want to climb? Keep tools out of reach and equipment in a locked shed or other area. By identifying hazards ahead of time, you can remove them and make your yard safer for kids.
- Test treated wood: Do you have a wood deck or play structure? Get an arsenic test kit to find out if that wood could harm your kids. Older structures often contain this deadly chemical. If yours do, replace the wood or the structures, and reseal the wood every year.
- Smooth ground surfaces: Tiny legs love to run, jump, hop and race. Make sure the ground surface of your yard and play areas is suitable. Look out for holes, divots or other areas where kids could trip and fall. If mulch is uneven or ground areas are hilly, try to smooth the surfaces to create safer places to play.
- Enclose the yard: In order to keep unauthorized intruders out and your children in, consider fencing in your backyard with a quality fencing structure. As a bonus, a fence can also add privacy that puts your mind at ease while your little ones run and play — with no unwanted eyes watching.
- Create play areas: If you don’t create designated play areas for kids, they’ll create their own. Set up specific sections of the yard for structures designed with their growing imaginations in mind. Add a sandbox, a playground and/or outdoor toys that you encourage your kids to use. They’ll love taking ownership of their parts of the yard, and you’ll love seeing the joy on their faces while they do.
- Make playground repairs: What kid doesn’t look forward to climbing, sliding, swinging and playing on a swing set outside? Before letting your little ones go free on your play set, however, make sure it’s in proper working order. Follow an appropriate playground safety checklist to inspect for broken equipment, loose anchoring or damage that could compromise the safety of your structure. Then, make all necessary repairs before letting your kids play.
- Talk about the rules with your kids: Last but not least, make sure your kids understand the rules about what is and isn’t safe while they’re playing outside. If you want them to keep an adult in view at all times or to stay in one section of the yard, go over this with them thoroughly.
While it’s true that you can’t prevent all injuries, it’s also true that you can take steps to minimize risks for your kids. Use the checklist above to make your backyard a safer, more secure space for your little ones, and turn your yard into a favorite destination this year.