|Safety First, Fun Second - Eyes always on the kids and a secure fence with the entry latch way above their head!|
When you first bring your little one home you don't really need to focus on the outside environment. Even when they start crawling you are likely right there beside them. Once they start walking, it's time to really evaluate your outdoor living space to ensure that it is safe.
- Railings - If you have railing on your deck, you need to make sure they are too small to squeeze a head through, but wide enough to not get a limb trapped. Safety netting can be easily added.
- Pools - You probably
already know how important it is to have fencing around your pool, but
I'll mention it anyway. The gate needs to have a locking feature not easy
enough for a child to operate.
This line separates the pool for the non-swimmers and the swimmers
- Outdoor Outlets - Safety plugs need to be added to outdoor outlets.
- Inspect Playground Equipment - Whether you recently purchased a new swing set or if you moved into a home with a jungle gym already there, it is important to inspect every inch of it. Protruding bolts need covering and the entire thing needs proper anchoring. A thick layer of rubber mulch is recommended under the equipment.
- Outdoor Rugs - Your patio or deck, walkways, and pool area should have plenty of outdoor rugs. First these rugs will prevent burnt toes on a hot day. They will also prevent splinters from a deck. Plus, they provide a softer fall surface for toddlers who often lose their balance. You can pick up some decorative ones that wash easily with a hose from online stores like SoothingCompany.com.
- Look for Tripping Hazards - Tree stumps, large rocks, and edging can all pose tripping hazards. Even adding plastic net fencing and t-posts around obstacles for the time being will help. They are easily removed later.
- Fencing - Any type of fence is better than no fence, but an old fence can pose danger. Check for loose hardware, protruding pieces, gaps, etc., and address them.
- Grills - Grilling equipment needs to be secure, when not in use. Matches, propane tanks, sharp utensils, and lighter fluid must not be accessible. When the grill is in use, never leave it unsupervised.
- Ponds - Many parents assume a koi pond or some other type of shallow pond does not really pose a danger, but it does. Children can drown in an inch of water. Add temporary fencing to ponds.
- Landscaping Tools - Make sure children cannot access the lawnmower and gardening tools. If you don't have a garage, consider a small shed to store everything inside.
- Sandbox - Be sure to use only sandbox sand because it is cleaner than regular sand. Putting a tarp over it when it is not being used will protect against bugs and bird droppings. It is a good idea to put an upside down bucket in the middle of the sandbox, and lay the tarp over it. This will eliminate water from pooling after it rains.