Guest post by Clara Beaufort
Does your backyard hold hidden risks for your kids and pets? Even though it’s the beginning of
the year, now is a great time to check your backyard safety status before warmer weather
arrives. Don’t let spring catch you napping!
In a few short weeks, the days will be getting longer and your children and pets are going to be
spending more time outside. Yard safety will be a fundamental factor for your peace of mind.
Now is your chance to catch any potential hazards before they become a problem.
The backyard safety audit
If your backyard has been sitting under a blanket of snow or you haven’t spent time there since
Thanksgiving, a safety audit will expose any threats to your family’s well-being. Start by
inspecting your yard thoroughly and jot down areas of concern. Identify weak spots in yard safety and zero in on these dangerous common backyard hazards for kids and pets. This way
nothing will be missed.
Parents know that pool safety is paramount. Children 14 and younger account for 20 percent of
drowning fatalities. If you have a pool in your backyard, it must be surrounded by a four-sided
fence, 4 to 5 feet high with a self-closing, self-latching gate. And don't position outdoor
furniture or play equipment where it can be used to climb over the enclosure.
When you have children and pets that may wander into the pool area unseen, you need to
install a pool alarm. An alarm adds another layer of protection, warning you if someone or
something gets into the pool area without your knowledge. Pools are notoriously dangerous for
children but dogs are also at risk of drowning even though they can paddle instinctively.
Check to see if your drain grates or covers meet safety standards and that your hot tub or spa is
fitted with a lockable hard cover. Put pool toys away as they can tempt small children and empty
paddling pools immediately after use.
Fencing is the crucial element to create a secure family haven in your backyard. A sturdy fence
will keep intruders out and keep your pets and children safe while playing outside. Snow, rain,
wind and ice can damage the fence around your pool and you may not notice. Because plants
and foliage can cover up problems caused by winter weather, it’s important to check for gaps or
Don’t overlook your play equipment. Well-maintained playsets and trampolines ensure that
outdoor play is safe and fun. Inspect for breakages and damage as you would your fences.
Winter weather can wreck anything that is left outside. In some instances, it might be time to
reevaluate your play set and opt or a new one. Just be sure to do your research before you buy
anything. Ratings and recommendations change regularly.
Lock up pesticides
The pesticides you use around your yard may be toxic to children and pets. Children coming in
contact with these potent substances may lead to a visit to ER. Because kids get into unlocked
places, keep pesticides out of their reach and locked away.
Check the safety of your plants
Plants are beautiful but some are toxic and are a common cause of poisoning for small children.
There are even flowers that can make dogs sick. With this in mind, check your plants and
isolate or remove any that pose a danger to kids or pets.
Where it all comes together
A lot can be accomplished simply by cleaning up your backyard and removing materials and
items that could be hazardous. Unsafe equipment and chemicals should be securely locked
away where kids and pets can’t get to them. If space is at a premium, installing a shed could be
the answer for a tamper-free storage solution.
Keeping on top of backyard safety is easier if you have a plan. A safety audit acts as your guide
ensuring nothing can slip through the cracks.