Information on childproofing outdoors, child proof the yard, childproofing in the garage, and yard safety tips for families with children
- Be sure to fence in your yard area, especially in the front of the house if used as a play area. The fence is not necessarily to keep things out or in, but to provide a barrier between your yard and the road outside. Children are much less likely to be struck by a car when playing in the yard, because that fence serves as a natural barrier to keep them from forgetting and chasing a ball or pet out into the road. It allows them time to stop and think about the situation. Most children are struck not because they don’t know how to cross the street, but because they forget in the middle of play.
- Check your lawn for mushrooms and other poisonous plants. Dispose of any that you find immediately.
- Use window well coverings to avoid hazardous falls into the window wells..
- Gate all outside stairs as well, as these can be just as hazardous as stairs inside the house.
- Do not allow children to play on the lawn for at least 48 hours after being treated with a lawn herbicide, pesticide or fertilizer treatment.
- Become familiar with all the plant life on your property, in case children ingest the leaves or plants.
- Install knob latches on barbeque grills, or store them in a manner that is inaccessible to children. Never leave children unattended near a gas grill.
- Make a habit of regularly walking your yard to remove any potentially hazardous items that may be lying around. Remember, kids are masters at making found objects into toys. So remove unnecessary debris (old boards, piles of tie downs, etc.) that they could hurt themselves with. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable with a kid running around the yard with it, it shouldn’t be there.
- Regularly trim away dead tree limbs that might fall in a storm. Watch for heavy branches that hang over or out toward your child’s room. Every year several children are crushed to death when an uprooted tree or tree limb comes crashing down on their house. Eighty-four percent of the trees knocked down in high winds were damaged to begin with.
Child Safety in the Yard
- Have children wear shoes when playing outside.
- Do not use a lawn mower when children are present. Not only is there the danger of the blade, but there is the danger of them being hit with a rock or other object that is thrown out from the lawnmower and hurtled like a bullet. A 2009 Consumer Reports National Research Center survey found that 23% of those who use lawn tractors or riding movers have been injured by a projectile or other accident. Given these high rates, it’s best not to have children around, especially since their head and vital organs are much lower to the ground.
- Keep all chemicals in a locked cabinet in the garage, such as oil, antifreeze, pesticides, lawn treatment, etc.
- Keep all tools and gardening supplies safely out of the reach of children.
- Keep the garage door down when children are playing outside.
Special Pool Precautions
Fence your pool or hot tub in, and place the latch to open it high enough so that only an adult can reach. See our information on pool safety.