As a parent, it feels good when your child reaches an age when they can play independently, giving you some time to yourself. However, no matter your child’s age, it is still important to practice safety precautions even when they are playing in the backyard. This article will break down some important backyard safety tips for young children.
Practice Poolside Safety
Although pools are a great way to keep kids entertained and busy, they also pose a major risk. If your backyard features a pool, then you’ll need to be sure to practice strict precautions when your child is around your pool or playing in your backyard. Here are a few important poolside safety tips for you and your family to practice.
- Never leave children unattended to play in a pool (even if they know how to swim).
- When not in use, keep your pool blocked off by a secure, kid-proof fence, and a pool cover for additional safety.
- Ensure that children use flotation devices while playing in the pool.
- Start swim lessons at a young age to teach children how to float in the event that they do fall in the pool.
Always Supervise Outdoor Play
You should always supervise your children when they are playing outside, even if just from afar. It is helpful to establish a safe outdoor play area for your child that is visible from a comfortable area, such as your porch or through a window in your home. That way you can still relax while your child plays outside, without having to take your eyes off of them. You can also have your child play with a friend or neighbor so that they are never left to play alone.
Share Safety Tips with Children
It is helpful to talk with your child about safety rules to help them understand why they should and shouldn’t do certain things. Having children understand safety risks can help them respect your rules and take them more seriously. Talk with your child about the importance of never talking to strangers when playing outside, playing away from traffic, remaining in safe play areas, staying aware of surroundings, and never wandering off alone.
Watch Out for Natural Threats
It is important to regularly survey your yard for any poisonous plants, ant piles, snakes, and other dangerous animals or insects. Teach your child to never eat any plants they find in the backyard even if they appear to be edible or safe. If you notice any parts of your backyard where stinging insects such as ants and wasps are more present, try to avoid allowing your child to play in these areas or watch vigilantly when they do. If you have tall grass, it may be helpful to lay out a blanket for your child to sit on when playing in the grass to protect them from bugs and snakes. If you live in an area that gets a lot of mosquitoes, you can try using some natural, kid-friendly bug spray on your child to protect them from getting bit.
Be Aware of Weather Conditions
Pay attention to the weather and be aware of any incoming storms or other weather threats when your child is playing outside. If it is supposed to rain later, watch out for any lightning and never let your child play outside when there is lightning. Use protective clothing on particularly sunny days and invest in some natural, non-toxic sunscreen for your child to use if they’re going to be outside for a while. You can also set up a sun shade or ask your child to play in a shady area such as under a tree to help keep them shaded from the sun and free from a sunburn.
Practice Jungle Gym Safety
If you have a jungle gym, slide, or sandbox in your yard, you’ll want to take some additional safety precautions. Anytime your child is playing with others on the jungle gym, make sure that they take turns going down the slide and never push or rough house on the jungle gym. Ensure that the jungle gym has been properly constructed and that there aren’t any loose or unstable areas. If your jungle gym features a swing, teach your child not to jump from the swing while swinging and to always wait until they have stopped swinging to dismount. Also teach your child not to jump from high areas of the jungle gym and to always use the steps or slide to get up and down.
Play Away From Traffic
If your backyard is near the street, make sure your child stays away from traffic. Teach your child to always remain aware of any cars on the road and to never run out in traffic. If your child is playing with a toy such as a ball and it accidentally rolls into the road, instruct them to always get you to come help them, rather than going to get the toy by themselves.
Additional Backyard Safety Tips
- Always keep dangerous items such as tools and lawn equipment locked away in a shed or closet where children cannot get to them.
- Be aware of any standing water in your yard that may accumulate after a storm. Never let children play unattended in areas that have puddles or lakes.
- If your child plays with any bikes or scooters when in the backyard, ensure that they wear a helmet at all times when riding on their bike and never ride out into high traffic areas.
- Always be present when your child is playing around water, even if they have learned how to swim.
- Get to know your neighbors and see if there are other families in your area whose kids might want to play with your child. Having groups of kids play together can be safer than letting your child play alone.
- Join a neighborhood watch group to work with your neighbors to keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior in your area.
The Pop N’ Go Playpen provides safety and shade during backyard play for children of all ages.