Keeping children safe in all aspects of life is important, but this especially applies in the garden. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the potential dangers lurking in the garden environment. From drowning in ponds and harmful plants or insects to accidents and misuse of tools, garden dangers are real and should be a cause for concern. Teach children how to prevent these hazards by educating them on garden safety.
Steps To Follow
Never, for any reason, leave children unattended outdoors or in the garden, especially near water. Although it’s not considered a substitute for adult supervision, fences are a good way to keep children from wandering into dangerous territory. Consider fencing in areas near ponds and pools. Also, be careful not to leave buckets of water accessible to young children, as they can fall in and drown.
Make sure your kids know good plants from bad ones. Teach them never to eat any plants without the explicit consent of an adult. Point out any unsafe plants that may sting or prick them in the garden and elsewhere, such as rose bushes, holly and cactus plants. In fact, it may be a good idea to avoid these plants altogether if you have young children.
Teach children about bees and other stinging insects, including caterpillars, and how to avoid them. They should be made aware of their habitats and favourite hangouts as well. Explain to children not to touch or swat at these creatures. Also, make sure children always wear shoes outdoors and in the garden. Do not let them wear bright clothing or fragrances, which can attract stinging or biting insects.
Do not use power tools or lawnmowers when children are nearby. Likewise, don’t leave garden tools unattended. While it’s ok to provide them with tools of their own, be sure they are specifically designed for children and only used with adult supervision. Teach children the proper way to use them and when, and put them up after each use, teaching your children to do the same. Always help children if sharp tools are to be used, such as pruning shears.
Although it’s better for everyone, especially the environment, not to use chemicals pesticides or fertilisers, if you must do so keep them away from children. In fact, lock them up.
Be cautious when it comes to staking up plants and using structures like trellises. Use tall stakes rather than small ones to prevent accidents or injuries. Children love to climb. Make it clear that only suitable play structures, such as monkey bars, may be used for climbing. Do not allow climbing on structures such as fences, or trellises, which can lead to falls and other accidents.
Finally, always encourage children to wash their hands after being outdoors and in the garden. Germs are the number one cause for many illnesses.
One of the easiest ways to instil garden safety in children is to start teaching them the basics at a young age and throughout their growing years. Try to be creative and keep the learning process fun. For instance, create a chart using pictures of safe and unsafe garden practices. Take them on frequent nature trips to help them become familiar with local plants and insects. Anything that you can think of that might strike up interest in your kids will help. After all, no one knows your children better than you do.