How to keep young children safe when playing outside

Playing outside is one of the best ways for your child to learn and grow in a healthy environment. Fresh air can help with mental health, proper sleep, and strong immune function. Exploring nature is a great way to aid in your child’s healthy motor and cognitive development. If your child likes to play outside often, then you may be thinking about some ways to keep them safe when playing in the backyard. Here are a few tips to help. 

Always supervise children when playing outside

Your children should never be left to play outside alone. Although it is good to give children some space to play independently, you always want to be nearby in case of an emergency. Always be close enough to see your child so you can tell that they are out of harm's way and always be available to them in case they need you for any reason. Set limits for your child and tell them to stay within a certain vicinity. For example, if you have a fenced-in yard, tell them to stay within the fence so that you can see them. 

Teach children to never play in or near the street

If your backyard is located near a busy street, be sure to teach your child to keep their distance from the street. Teach young children about the importance of staying away from the street since drivers aren’t always paying attention and sometimes drive irresponsibly. Tell your child to act as if drivers can’t see them and never assume that a car will stop for them, unless they are absolutely certain. Having a fenced in backyard can help prevent the risk of injury that is related to playing near the street since you can easily tell your child to stay within the fence. Be sure to teach children to ask adults for assistance if a ball or toy rolls out into the road and to never run out to get it themselves. 

Regularly check your backyard for any hazards

Checking your backyard regularly is a great way to prevent any type of danger for your child. Look for any type of trash, sharp tools or branches, or lawn equipment. This is especially important to do after you’ve had any lawn services or construction work done in your backyard as workers often leave items behind without realizing it. 

Be aware of harmful chemicals and pesticide usage

Depending on where you live, your neighborhood may be in charge of the landscaping and could easily spray pesticides without your knowledge. Exposure to pesticides can cause children many issues including cancer and attention problems. Protecting your child from these harmful chemicals can prevent lifelong side effects. If your backyard has been sprayed with pesticides recently, be sure to wait at least 24 hours before allowing your child to play in that area. 

Keep outdoor play equipment safe

If you have any play equipment in your backyard, such as swings or a jungle gym, be sure that all structures are properly assembled and safe. Check regularly for any type of risks such as loose screws, rusty metal, or wobbly structures. Set up any new play equipment in low risk areas, away from any electrical wiring or appliances such as air conditioning units. 

Fence off dangerous appliances

If you have any grills, air conditioning units, or other unsafe, electrical appliances within your child’s play area, utilize a child-proof fencing. Keeping these appliances fenced off will help your child understand the importance of staying away from them and you’re eliminating any risk of electrocution injuries. 

Keep storage sheds and garages locked

If your backyard includes a storage shed, keep it locked with childproof latches to prevent injury. Often, sheds serve as a storage area for tools, lawn equipment and other dangerous items. We all know that young children like to explore and investigate any areas that are considered “off limits.” Keep these types of areas locked up to prevent any injuries. 

Be aware of potential predators

Although it’s not the most desirable thing to think about, sexual predators exist and may even live closer than you’d like to believe. Check your local sexual predator map to become aware of any potential predators that may be living in your area. Always teach your young children to stay away from strange adults and listen to their instincts if they don’t feel comfortable in a given situation. Be close by so that your child can come get you if someone has approached them and they aren’t sure if they should talk to them or not. 

Practice safety with bikes and other toys

If your young child has a tricycle, bike, or scooter that they like to ride around on, be sure to practice safety with these toys. Always have your child wear a helmet when riding on a bike or tricycle. Permanent brain damage can occur easily with a fall on concrete and it simply isn’t worth the risk. Teach them to stay within a certain area and to not ride off too far. Also be sure to keep them away from busy streets or areas with vehicular traffic. 

Additional safety tips

  • Communication is one of the easiest ways to keep your young child safe. By clearly expressing to them the risks that come along with certain behaviors and explaining to them why they aren’t allowed to do something, you’re helping them understand your reasoning, making them more likely to respect your wishes, and listen. 
  • Keep an eye out for any poisonous plants or insects that may be living around your yard. Watch out for any ant piles or other insect nests such as wasp nests and beehives that could put your child at risk for injury. 
  • Utilize sunscreen, insect repellent, and/or protective clothing during the hotter months to prevent sunburns and insect bites. 
  • If you have multiple children to keep track of at once, such as a baby and a young child, having a safe playpen for the baby to play in can help you have one less thing to think about. 

Giving your young child plenty of time to play outside is an absolute must for proper growth and development. By taking the necessary steps, you can rest assured that your little one is staying safe, while also enjoying the fresh air. 

The Pop N’ Go playpen is a spacious, safe, playpen that is suitable for children and babies of all ages.