Tips for Creating a Safe Back Garden Environment for Children and Pets

Your yard is a great place for your children and pets to safely explore and play. Having a safe backyard is especially important if you have a child on the autism spectrum. Read on for advice from Autisable on how to make your backyard a fun place for the whole family:

Remove debris

Storms and other harsh weather can wreak havoc on landscaping, patios and walkways. Fallen branches are unsightly and can be a hazard for young children playing on grassy areas. They also are tempting, but unhealthy, potential chew toys for the family dog. When cleaning these up, take a look at your yard’s greenery.  Trimming unwieldy and dying branches will avoid limbs falling during storms and can make areas of your back garden more visible while you are supervising the kids.

It’s also important to inspect walking paths and patio areas. Weather can stain paving bricks with algae, and while this is less-than-pleasant to look at, it also can result in unsafe slippery surfaces. Power wash walkways and other places children may travel to get rid of slick residue.   

Take stock of playground areas

While you’re cleaning up patios and walkways, take a good look at your children’s play equipment. Swing sets settle over time and metal fasteners can rust. Make sure you regularly inspect and make any necessary repairs. Hundreds of thousands of injuries occur each year, but many of these injuries could have been avoided through simple safety inspections and equipment repair.

If you are looking for additional playground equipment safety resources, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) publishes voluntary standards for home playground equipment. For equipment suggestions for children on the autism spectrum, click here.

Plunge into pool safety

If you have a pool you probably already know that it poses a major safety hazard. This is especially true for children on the autism spectrum as they tend to be attracted to water. A pool, however, can also be a safe and fun component of your garden for everyone in your family. Start by making sure you can control access to the pool. Experts agree that you should install a 4 to 5-foot fence around your pool, and the access gate should be self-closing and latching. To find highly rated contractors, search “fence installers in my area.”  

For additional protection, you can purchase and install a pool alarm that will alert you if anyone or a family pet enters the pool. Lastly, consider getting a cover for the pool when it’s not in use as an extra alert for accidental falls into the water.

Start with a plan

No matter how clean your garden is, or how well-repaired and protected your playground equipment and pool may be, complete home safety begins with education and planning. Enroll your children in age-appropriate swimming lessons. The Red Cross has detailed information about where to find lessons in your area. Parents also can take first aid and CPR courses through the Red Cross. 

Most importantly, implement a pool safety and back garden safety checklist. This is a simple document that can provide a roadmap in case a child becomes injured in your back garden.

Finally, no fence or piece of safety equipment will provide 100 percent protection for your family. Education and communication with your children can fill that gap. Teach your children about the boundaries of your property such as which places are safe or off-limits. By involving your children in this planning process, you can ensure a fun and safe outdoor space.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Melissa Howard

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