As you sit and preside over your outdoor oasis, what do you see? A relaxing garden that you’ve carefully cultivated with lush landscaping and a soothing water feature? America’s finest cookout kingdom? Or perhaps you’re still renovating your backyard, and want to know how to put all of those baby proofing internet articles to the test! Jump to the bottom to our baby proofing checklist!
Hidden Backyard Hazards: Can You Spot Them?
If you’re expecting your first child, it can be tricky to look at something as ordinary as your backyard, and suddenly recognize it as a potential hazard for your newborn or infant. You installed a pool safety fence, but did you forget to lock away the lawn mower after using it?
The backyard can be dangerous for kids, and new hazards can pop up overnight (hello, toxic mushrooms!) — but don’t panic.
Use these GIFS to quickly scan the image for hazards, and watch as potential dangers appear. When it’s time for you to babyproof your own backyard, take a moment to stand still and scan your yard for potential hazards. What will pop up for you?
According to the , 200 children drown in backyard swimming pools every year. If you have any water features in your backyard — including ponds, fountains, hot-tubs, and streams, it’s essential that you implement proper safety measures. Infants can drown in as little as one inch of water. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Swimming Pool Safety
Always install a safety net or a fence around the perimeter of your swimming pool.
A pool safety net can be easily installed over the surface of your pool to prevent accidental trips or falls into the water. Make sure that you invest in a high-quality, custom-built net that will hug the edges of your pool and won’t leave any dangerous areas unprotected. You can also purchase reinforced covers for hot-tubs, ponds, fountains, and other water features in your backyard.
A pool safety fence is recommended for any families with young children. The pool fence should be higher than 5 ft, and be free of any gaps or spaces that a small child could wriggle through. Don’t forget to store patio furniture far away from the perimeter of the safety fence — tiny explorers can use it to climb to the other side.
Find out about swimming classes for infants in your area. Babies can be taught to “flip and float” in the water, which is the best way to prevent accidental drownings.
Watch out for puddles and slippery surfaces in the backyard! The last place any child should slip and hit their head is near a large body of water. Scour your pool area to identify any tripping hazards or obstructions which could cause an accident.
The pool area is likely to accessorized with patio furniture, diving boards, decorative pebbles or stones, and maybe even potted plants. Can you see any sharp edges or choking hazards? If you have plenty of plants in your backyard, always research the species and make sure it’s not toxic to kids.
If you don’t have a trusty padlock to keep your shed secure, now is the time to invest in one! Do a quick 360 around the outside of your shed. Are there any holes or broken windows that a child could climb through? Is there any broken glass or large splinters nearby? Here are some hazards that could be lurking inside your shed:
Lawn Mower Safety
every day. Make sure that you keep your lawn mower locked away when it’s not in use, and keep kids inside while you tend to the grass. Stones and pebbles can catch on the blades, and can result in a trip to the hospital if they hit your young ones in the face. Never EVER let your child ride or use the lawn mower. Be sure to keep other yard tools, like pruning shears, rakes, shovels, and hedge trimmers under lock and key.
Pesticides and Fertilizer
Weedkiller, lawn fertilizer, pesticides, rusty paint cans...the list goes on. Make sure that you keep toxic materials on a high shelf in your shed, and research kid-friendly alternatives if you currently use any toxic materials in your gardening routine. Remember, babies like to explore new surroundings by tasting them first!
It’s common sense to keep a chainsaw away from kids. But watch out for rakes, shovels and pruning shears too!
Extension Cables and Electrical Outlets
Keep extension cables organized, and watch out for trip hazards. All electrical outlets should be fitted with a childproof cover regardless of where they are. But this is even more important if you have an outdoor water feature.
Insects, Spiders and Snakes
Keep a close eye out for any spiders, snakes, bees, wasps, and other biting insects in dark and damp places like the backyard shed. Venom from these animals can be far more potent to children than to adults, and your child may even have an allergic reaction to certain bites or stings.
If the majority of your garden is a deck or patio area, you might think that you’re out of the danger zone. But although you’re less likely to run into poison ivy on your patio, there are other dangers to look out for:
The backyard grill may be the apple of your eye, but be careful when having a cookout! Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house, and never leave a hot grill unsupervised. Always lock away any propane canisters after using them, and keep kids away from hot surfaces. Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby while barbecuing. You’ll also want to keep any barbecue accessories, like grilling forks, out of reach.
Do you have a firepit in your backyard? Make sure that firepits are covered when not in use. Never leave a child unsupervised near an open flame! Some fire pits contain glass rocks for decorative purposes. These can be a choking hazard, so consider swapping them out for sand.
Child Proof Fencing
Do you have fencing around your deck? If your deck is elevated or has a staircase, always install safety fencing. Buy an outdoor deck safety gate to prevent your kids from getting into the main yard if your deck is already fenced in. If you already have a fence, is there any way your kids could squeeze between the railings and possibly get stuck? Reinforce it with child proof fencing that can easily be added to the existing structure.
Child Proof Sliding Door
Always be on the lookout for sharp edges. Pay attention to landscaping and patio furniture for any sneaky sharp corners. There are many options for covering sharp edges, and you can drum up a creative solution by using foam pool noodles! Foam tape is another simple solution that can be added to most corners. Look out for sharp edges in the following areas:
- Plant pots
- Patio furniture
- Landscaping designs
- Sharp gravel (which can also be a choking hazard)
- Fence edges
- Outdoor structures including swingsets and climbing frames
Play structures should be surrounded by a soft surface (like mulch) and never be higher than 10 feet off the ground. Watch out for swings, ropes, and anything that could become damaged or pose a strangulation risk. Young children can get tangled up in rope swings and swingsets, so never leave a young child outdoors unattended.
If you have pets, always examine play areas for feces. Dog poop can be dangerous for young kids, and it’s full of nasty bacteria. If you have a sandpit, always keep it covered overnight as neighborhood animals (and your own pets) might see it as a big litter tray!
The rules of playground safety should also apply in your backyard. Discuss stranger danger with older kids, and make sure that any exits are properly secured both ways, so no-one can enter your yard from the outside.
Lay out some ground rules for play equipment. For instance, no more than one person on the swing at a time.
Baby Proofing Backyard Checklist Printable
Use this checklist to child proof and baby proof your backyard. Be sure to share this with your friends on social media!