The great outdoors is a wonderful place to explore with the summer season officially starting on June 21 – but be aware of hidden dangers for young children as they play in the garden.
The experts at GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk say it’s worthwhile taking a critical eye to assess your outdoor space regularly to identify hazards to keep children safe.
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A spokesperson for GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk said: “As the warmer weather beckons, children will spend more time in the garden.
“But are there objects which could result in an easily preventable accident if you take time to think ahead and make sure they are either safely out of the way or children know to be careful with them.
“Taking a few minutes of planning before children begin to enjoy exploring the garden could save potential accidents and heartache later on.”
Here are some of the critical things to consider from GardenBuildingsDirect.co.uk:
Regularly check your play equipment, such as climbing frames and slides, for jagged edges or loose screws, which can cause a sudden nasty injury. With wear and tear, the standard of equipment may also deteriorate with time, so it is essential to see if it is safe to play with regularly. Always follow the instructions on erecting new equipment and any safety advice given.
Greenhouses are not playhouses, so children should be discouraged from exploring these in the first place. It is worth investing in a greenhouse with strong glass to reduce the risk of injury in the event of a smashed window from a stray football, where the glass will not shatter into tiny hazardous shards.
These should be secured safely in position to ensure they cannot capsize or move around, and it is safer for just one person to use the trampoline at a time to give them the space to play and prevent awkward knocks and injury.
Poisonous berries and plants
Just as children are told not to eat plants or berries without checking with a parent first when out on a walk in the countryside, the same applies to home, there are online lists available to talk through which plants are poisonous, and there may also be advice given when the plant is bought.
Ponds and pools
There are stories of children who drown in the garden every year, and babies and toddlers can drown in as little as five cm of water. Children need to be supervised around water at all times, and where possible, it is sensible to drain water from a paddling pool once used.
Barbecues remain hot long after use, so it is essential to keep children away from them during cooking and after eating as the coals and grills cool down. Flames and red hot coals entice children, but charcoal can also retain its heat long after extinguishing a fire.
Young children may see sharp tools such as shears and spades as exciting playthings, but they are dangerous in the wrong hands. Children should be supervised outdoors when gardening occurs, and stray tools should be locked away in the shed or outhouse.
Essential outdoor products such as antifreeze for the car and plant fertiliser for the lawn are often stored in the garage of the shed. These must be kept out of the reach of young hands at all times, which might otherwise see these items as enticing and want to explore them. Always keep these products clearly labelled as well.