The backyard is perhaps the biggest drawcard to bring young couples with children away from their trendy inner-city apartments to a family home in the suburbs. There is nothing more comforting than hearing your child playing happily in the yard, knowing they are safe and secure in a home environment. But how safe are the little ones really?
Quite frankly, the average backyard can be a dangerous place for a young child if the proper precautions are not taken before play gets underway. No one is suggesting that little Johnnie or Jane be kept indoors until they are old enough to drive, but that doesn’t mean a parent shouldn’t be a little wary and check for hidden dangers first.
Here are a few things to look out for before letting your children loose in the backyard.
Potential Fall Hazards
Where could my child possibly fall from in a backyard? You’d be surprised. School incident reports are full of examples where children have sustained injuries, sometimes quite serious, after falling from a seemingly inconsequential height in the playground. Children’s bones are still developing and quite brittle. Therefore it doesn’t take much of a fall to cause a serious break, concussion or other head injury. Look for potential climbing hazards such as low tree branches and climbable fences, and take steps to make them inaccessible to youngsters. Parents still concerned about climbing and fall hazards, and are looking for ways to eliminate the risks, could check out websites such as www.safeatheightsqld.com.au for more information.
Drowning and Water Hazards
It takes only a few seconds for a child to slip away from adult supervision, find a water source and drown. Backyard swimming pools are the most common source of drowning for children, even though regulations in all jurisdictions require pools to be fully enclosed with child-proof fences. The dangers arise because people feel complacent with the fence and forget children can display incredibly ingenuity when they want to do something. If you have a pool, make sure there is nothing lying around in the yard a child could use as a step to open the gate or scale the fence. And it doesn’t have to be a full size pool to be a hazard, especially if the child is particularly young. Wading pools and buckets of water left around the yard also pose a potential drowning hazard to toddlers and babies.
Keep Fire at Bay
Fire pits are becoming a trendy accessory in suburban backyards, an ideal meeting place to gather around to share drinks and food with friends. But they can also be a hazard for the unwary and the very young. Never the leave the pit burning and unattended when young children are about. Children are attracted to the flames and it doesn’t take much for them to fall in. Even when the pit is not in use make sure it is securely covered so little ones can’t climb up and fall in. While the distance of the fall might not be great, it is easy to hit their heads on the edge of the pit and do themselves a serious injury.
The backyard is a great place for children to play, explore and learn about nature. But it is our responsibility as adults to run our eyes over the yard first to check for any dangers that may be lurking in the undergrowth. Do a check beforehand and make sure the children play it safe.