Playing in the garden with your children is a great way to have rewarding outdoor experiences while enjoying the convenience and comfort of home. You can go insect spotting, have a water fight, play in a sandpit… the options are nearly endless! To really make the most of your garden it’s important that you make sure it’s safe and secure for your child, so you can relax in the knowledge that they are safe.
Remove or secure dangerous plants
It seems like you only have to turn around for two seconds and your child will have picked something up and put it in their mouth! It’s a natural way for them to learn about the world, but it’s not always safe. Make sure that your child can’t get to any poisonous plants that are either growing in your garden or hanging over from a neighbouring garden so that they don’t make themselves ill.
Common poisonous plants in the UK are:
- Deadly Nightshade
- Giant Hogweed
- Poison Hemlock
- Winter Cherry
Plants which have thorns or which sting in some way are also best kept away from children.
Discourage stinging pests
If you notice that you have a bee, wasp or ants’ nest this can pose a danger to your child. If the nest is in a place where your child is likely to come across it, it’s a good idea to do something about it.
For bees’ nests, it’s best not to disturb them if you can avoid it as bees are struggling to survive in this country. But if you have to it is best to move the nest in winter. If you need to move the nest in flying season it’s best done at night, with the entrances carefully blocked up. This is very risky though! There are pest control agencies out there who specialise in moving bees’ nests so this is probably the best option.
For wasps and ants, whether you want to destroy the nest is up to your personal preference, but again a pest control agency may be the safest option.
Make sure they can’t get out
Children can move surprisingly quickly when they want to. Make sure that they can’t get out of your garden by ensuring that there are no gaps in your walls or fences, and that you use properly fitted wooden gates to keep the entrance secure. It’s also important to make sure that gates are always kept shut and locked and that the locks are high up enough that your children can’t reach them.
Child proof ponds and water
If you have a young child it’s quite risky to have a pond, so it’s a good idea to fill them in with soil. If you do want to keep the pond then make sure that you fence it off, bearing in mind that children can climb so the fence needs to be high enough that they can’t get over it.
Lock away your tools and chemicals
Make sure that you store any tools and chemicals in a locked shed where you child can’t get at them. Don’t leave them unattended even for short periods of time.
Check for heavy objects
If you have heavy objects in your garden like bird baths, make sure they are well and truly secured into the ground so that your child can’t pull them over on top of themselves.