Four Ways You Can Make Your Yard Safe for Children and Pets

As the cold weather recedes, the warmth that replaces it makes the outdoors irresistible to our children and pets. They’re naturally active, and the months when playing outside was either unappealing or impractical mean they might be extra exuberant when the warmer temperatures arrive. To keep your yard child- and pet-friendly, consider the following areas.

Survey Your Yard

First, and most practically, assess your yard for potential perils. Make sure there are no accessible hazardous chemicals that could harm either your kid or a pet, and that they are securely locked away. If you have any wooden play toys, carefully assess them to make sure there are no splinters. When it comes to metals and plastic, look for any rough edging or shattering that cold can create. If rust has developed, you can paint over it with a metal enamel. Check steps and railings for wear and tear and make necessary repairs. Also, search for potentially harmful vegetation. A pet can easily sicken themselves eating fungi or poisonous plants, so clear away anything speculative. Ask a vet for further information if necessary. And don’t overlook leftover firewood. Woodpiles can be tempting obstacles for children, but may contain dangerous creatures, or cause a fall or splinter injury.

Check Your Trees and Shrubs

In the aftermath of winter, you may find that your yard has accumulated debris. It may be natural, such as fallen branches and dead leaves, but some of it can be more dangerous and unwanted, like nails and broken glass. Regardless, do a thorough clean of your trees and shrubbery, give it a good raking, and look for anything that could pose a danger to your child or pet. Loose or overgrown branches can be one of the biggest hazards. Whether they’re still attached to a tree, or have broken off, be sure to prune and remove them. If there is evidence that a tree is in danger of falling, such as deep cracks or a hole in the trunk, then you should consider its removal as a matter of urgency.

Make a Few Changes

After you’ve checked your yard, it might be evident that it could do with a few amendments to further the safety of your child or pet. If you have a pool, make sure that there is at least a 4 or 5-foot fence with a securely latched gate. Make sure there are pool and drain covers, and keep a pool hook and emergency flotation devices nearby just in case. For areas where your child will be playing, consider putting down rubber mulch. It’s a popular substance that schools use to create a safe environment for playing, and it’s preferable to other forms of mulch that might contain splinters or even toxic chemicals.

Establish some Ground Rules

Lastly, establish some ground rules for your child. Regardless of you always keeping a sharp eye, it’s still important to remind your little one that they need to be careful in the yard. Write down a few rules on paper and place it somewhere prominent. If they have friends over, make sure that they, too, understand, that these rules must be abided by for their own safety. Identify places which you feel should be off-limits, like the garage and shed, or places where they may be hidden from sight. Stress that play equipment must be used responsibly, which means no standing on swings, and discourage any rough behavior while using such equipment or when near trees and walls. Finally, remind your kid through these rules that they must put their stuff, like bikes and backpacks, away from areas where they might trip or fall.

It can be easy to overlook the potential dangers that exist in our yards. However, it’s important to identify anything which might pose a risk to our children and pets. So, as warmer temperatures arrive, give yourself some peace of mind by ridding your yard of debris, making some safety adjustments, and creating an environment that is ideal for fun.

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