No More Ouchies: How to Childproof Your Yard
Most parents (or soon-to-be-parents) have already taken the time to childproof their home‘s interior. But what about the exterior? The great outdoors provides endless opportunities for fun and exploration, but it’s also full of hazards—inedible plants, rocks to trip over, loose furniture that could fall over with a single shove or bump.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to limit these hazards. Here’s how to childproof your yard in order to make it safe for your lively little one.
Patch up Damaged Pavement
Damaged pavement can be a serious hazard. Your kid could be biking (or tricycling) in the driveway and go soaring after hitting a malevolent pothole. They could also trip over a crack and end up with a scraped knee, a black-and-blue bruise, or worse.
To prevent accidents such as these, it’s important to keep up with regular driveway maintenance. If you notice cracks starting to form, patch them up yourself or hire a professional to mend them for you. You should also sealcoat every other year to prevent cracks and holes from forming in the first place.
Move or Remove Poisonous Plants
The next tip on how to childproof your yard is to purge (or hide) the plants. Those pretty plants in your garden might look harmless, but they could be dangerous when ingested. Everyone knows how much children love to put stuff they shouldn’t put in their mouths, well, in their mouths.
Take the time to check the safeness of each plant in your garden. Lilies and irises? Not edible. Chilies? Safe, but ouch, are they hot! Clovers aren’t really the most conventional thing to eat, but they won’t harm your kid. That weird-looking bunch of mushrooms growing beneath that tree in the corner of your yard, though? Not safe. Definitely not safe.
To keep your kid from eating things they shouldn’t be eating, remove any non-edible plants, find a way to keep them out-of-reach (use plant cages and heights to your advantage), or make sure to supervise your child during outdoor playtime.
Secure Furniture and Play Structures
Remember the hundreds of corner guards you slapped onto your indoor furniture? Make sure to put some on your outdoor furniture, too. You should also double-check the sturdiness and stability of any play equipment in your yard—swings, slides, seesaws, the works.
Is the ground they’re placed on flat? If they’re placed on a hill or bump (even a small one) they’re at an increased risk of tipping over. Do they have sharp corners? You know what that means. Time to buy and install even more corner guards. And lastly, are they age-appropriate? There’s nothing more dangerous than a one-year-old who can barely walk swinging on the monkey bars or a twelve-year-old crammed into a swing meant for toddlers.