As a parent, one of the most important things to consider when building your patio is child safety. We love our children even when they draw on the walls, jump on the furniture, or get close to the pool to get a toy that fell in, and as a result we should strive to create the safest backyard where they can comfortably play in, and you can have peace of mind.
The backyard can have may potential hazards for children, specially children between the ages of 1-7 years old. The first thing every parent should do is asses the potential hazards in your backyard that your child may encounter. Take into consideration the age of your child, for example a 3 year old may try eating the flowers, so the garden should be fenced, versus an 8 year old may not do that but he would try jumping from the tree house to the ground and so the tree house should be close to the ground. Put yourself in your child’s mind, what trouble could he run into? What things might his imagination tempt him to try? What areas are more dangerous? Once you’ve assessed your backyard its time to child proof it!
Here’s a list of things to consider:
Take a look at your backyard, is it fenced? Could the fence harm your child (spikes,) or can it be climbed over? We recommend that you fence your backyard so that your child won’t wonder off into the streets or another neighbor's house. Although most backyards come fenced, consider if the fence is sufficient and if it is safe. A good fence won’t come with spikes, and it will be tall enough for the children not to climb it.
Fenced Pool- Covered Hot Tub
Pools are one of the most dangerous areas for children, therefore they should be fenced in order to protect your child. Make sure the pool gate is self-closing, self-latching once with latches that are out of the reach of children. The fence should be at least 4 feet tall. Another option is a pool cover along with a pool fence, this is the most secure option, since it’s two protection mechanisms.
Pool safety is specially important for young children who haven’t learned how to swim, are just learning how to swim, or children who are small and can’t reach the bottom of the deep end yet (depending on the deepness of the pool).
Another area to cover is the hot tub. Most hot tubs will come with their own cover from the manufacturer but you want to make sure that when not in use,
the hot tub is covered and security buckles are fastened. This is a good idea to protect your children as well as to keep the hot tub warm and clean from debris.
There are a few things to consider when it comes to gardens and children: hazardous/toxic plants, potential area for dirt eating, and protecting the delicate flowers from children’s activity. This of course depends on the age of your child, and it’s mostly applicable to toddlers who are still exploring their surroundings. In order to childproof the garden make sure to weed out all the hazardous or toxic plants, so that if your child ever starts eating the plants, they won’t run into any trouble. Protect the area from child play (and your child from potentially eating the dirt) by fencing in the garden with a plastic fence so that your children won’t wonder in it.
Stored Garden Tools
Some parents may love gardening, and so the safety storing of these tools away from your children is an important note to make. Make sure that you store away all gardening tools, like saws, pruning shears, mowers, and power tools as well as chemicals like fertilizers, weed killers, swimming pool cleansers, disinfectants, insecticides, pesticides, fuels, and cleaning materials. All these things should be kept in a shed and locked so that your children don’t have access to them.
Child Friendly Patio Furniture
Childproof patio furniture should be furniture without any sharp edges, or bulging nails, etc. Choose patio furniture that is cushioned, with round edges, resistant to tearing and snapping, and stain proof (to make sure you can clean any crayon marks at the end of the day). We recommend a cushioned marine grade polymer (MGP) set, since MGP is a lightweight material thus preventing injuries if the child stumbles upon it, it’s completely stain proof so you can wipe clean the crayon stains, and the cushion makes it soft and safe.
Block Access To Grills and Fire Pit Tables
If you have grills, outside kitchens, or fire pit tables, it’s important to keep them closed, covered, and away from the children. This may seem obvious but it’s worth noting. Also keep all lighters and matches away from the children, less they get ideas and want to start a fire.
Secure Play Structures
All public playgrounds are subjected to inspections, yours should be too! Check the area for anything out of place like a loose guardrail. Cover the area under the playground or play structure with a shock-absorbing material such as rubber to help children avoid injuries when they fall or jump from the structure. Also protect them against potential hazards by making sure all tree branches are removed, all platforms have guardrails and are not highly elevated. We also recommend that tree houses be build close to the ground to prevent serious falls too.
With all these precautions to child-proof your backyard you can now have peace of mind that your child will be safe while playing in the yard!