Spring has finally sprung! That means more family time outside enjoying the warm weather. Here are our top tips to ensure your outdoor spaces are safe for your babies and toddlers to explore.
1. Know what is growing in your garden.
Babies and toddlers love to play and explore in the garden, so knowing what plants are growing in your garden is important for safety. The easiest way to manage this is to avoid planting plants that carry dangerous toxins (this takes a simple google search to find a comprehensive list!). If your home has existing toxic plants that are difficult to remove you can attempt to use a fence or barrier to deter your baby or toddler from exploring that area of the garden.
2. Check your pool fencing
Young children are naturally curious and attracted to water, but are at highest risk of drowning. All pools need to be fenced in compliance with local building codes and registered with local council. In New South Wales pool fences need to be at least 1.2 metres high, and if the pool backs up onto a boundary fence, the boundary fence needs to be at least 1.8 metres high. There are also requirements that apply to the height and size of latches, gaps and horizontal pales. A full safety checklist can be downloaded at www.checkyourpoolgate.com.au. Most importantly never leave your child unsupervised around the pool.
3. Baby proof verandahs/ patio spaces.
The first major consideration when baby proofing a verandah/patio area is to make sure space is not easily accessible to your child. This means have a minimum of two locks on the door to prevent a curious child from wandering out. Inside the verandah area, we recommend installing perspex sheeting along railing areas where a child could hook their feet into the railings and climb their way up and over the fence. Move any verandah furniture e.g. chairs, pot plants or toys that a child could climb up on and use to look over the side of the verandah. Importantly always supervise a child when they are in this space.
4. Check out the play equipment
All play equipment should be checked regularly for signs of wear and tear and ensure it is in good working order. For example, check that the swing set is stably anchored into the ground, regularly check bolts and screws and for wear and tear in trampolines, inspect the cubby house for any loose parts that may need repairing.
5. Baby proof the garden shed
This one is a double baby proofing need. Firstly all gardening products and equipment should be kept and locked away in a garden shed. Because the garden shed is full of products and equipment that are dangerous if it gets in the hands of small children, if possible keep more hazards items such as fertilizers, chemical products, tools up high and out of reach on a shelf.
6. Baby proof the bbq
Nothing is more popular on a warm evening for many families than backyard barbecuing. Small children are fascinated by fire and may try to touch an open flame, never leave any hot plates or open fire unattended. Make sure you store all barbecue equipment such as tongs, fire lighters and matches out of reach. When using a free standing barbecue ensure it is anchored and cannot tip over. If your barbecue uses coals for cooking ensure they are extinguished properly. When cooking it’s a good idea to keep small children away from the area and explain the dangers of coming near the hot equipment.