You probably think of your backyard as the safest, most relaxing place in the world and true your child does not need a gps locator device while there.  While your backyard may very well be relaxing, it can also pose several hazards to your child’s safety.  Know the facts about backyard safety and help protect your child from danger.

Pool Safety
About 300 children under 5-years-old die every year from drowning in public or residential pools.  Thousands more children require emergency room treatment and hospitalization.  Some pool injuries result in disability and even brain damage.  Pool safety is one of the most important aspects of backyard safety.  Be sure that your pool (even inflatable pools) has a proper safety fence around it to protect your children and other children in the neighborhood from potential drowning and other injuries.  Educate your children not to run around the pool because of the dangers of slipping and falling into the pool.  And be aware of drains and suction that can entrap your child, or their hair, limbs, clothing, etc.  Disembowelment has even been reported from accidents with pool drains.  Be sure that your child is always supervised while playing in or around the pool and that they know that they should never swim alone.  If you have a “kiddie” pool, be sure to empty it and store it properly when you’re not using it.

Poisons!
Your backyard may contain pool chemicals, pesticides, cleaning supplies or poisonous plants.  Teach your children not to handle or eat any plants they don’t know are safe.  And be sure to store dangerous chemicals out of the reach of children and under lock and key if possible.

Helmets
If your child is riding their bicycle, scooter, skateboard, skates, rollerblades, miniature car or other toys / vehicles in the yard, be sure they are wearing a safety approved helmet.  If your child ventures out into the driveway, sidewalk, or road with their toys / vehicles, be extra certain they have a properly fitting helmet on.

Riding Lawn Mowers
Children need to be at least 16-years-old before operating a riding lawn mower and at least 12-years-old before operating any lawn mower.  When your riding or other lawn mower is not in use, be sure to keep the keys out of the ignition and out of the reach of children.  Never take a child “for a ride” on a riding lawn mower.

Playgrounds
Backyard playgrounds or equipment should be anchored on an appropriate surface and checked for damage and hazards.  Any damaged equipment should be repaired immediately.  If you are unable to repair playground equipment immediately, be sure to tell your spouse and children what is damaged and that everyone should wait to use the equipment until it has been properly repaired.

Other Backyard Safety Tips

  • Apply SPF 15 or higher sunscreen to any exposed skin 15 – 30 minutes before your child goes out to play and reapply as needed (especially when swimming).  Remember that it is possible for your child (or anyone) to get a sunburn even if it’s cloudy out
  • Use insect repellents as needed, especially if your child is going to play outside near dusk or while it’s dark out.
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