From poisonous plants to weed killer, trampolines to barbecues, there are a number of potential hazards in the garden that parents should be aware of in order to make them safer places for children to play in during these months of confinement (and beyond).
As a rule, only allow one person on at any one time. The large majority of accidents happen when two or more people are on a trampoline, and generally, it is the lighter person (such as a child) who will be injured as a result. While it might seem like good fun, adults who are under the influence of alcohol should not on in any circumstances join their children on a trampoline.
Teach children never to eat plants or berries they have picked in the garden or out and about in the countryside, without checking with an adult first. CAPT’s leaflet How safe is your child in the garden? has a full list of common poisonous plants, and first aid advice if you do suspect a child has ingested something poisonous.
Lock garden tools away in a shed or other secure area, and never leave electrical equipment plugged in when not in use. Keep chemicals such as weed killer and fertiliser out of reach of young children, and always keep them in their original containers – never be tempted to transfer them to food jars or drinks bottles.
If you’re a car owner, antifreeze and screenwash are winter essentials and you may well have some lurking in the garden shed. However both are highly poisonous to children and it’s important that they’re kept well out of children’s reach at all times. Accidental poisoning can happen in an instant, even if you’re there but have been distracted momentarily.
Like other household products, we recommend you buy ones with Bitrex® added to them for a ‘belt and braces’ approach to child safety.
If you have a garden, remember that babies and toddlers can drown in as little as 5cm (2”) of water, so supervision around ponds (and as the weather gets warmer) and paddling pools is essential. It’s a very good idea to get into the habit of emptying paddling pools when young children have finished playing in them.
Think about your neighbours’ gardens too – young children can wander off into them and drown in garden ponds, even if you don’t think they have access.
It may not yet feel like barbeque season but if you do decide to cook outside to make a change to the routine just remember, a barbecue can stay hot enough to cause a serious contact burn for a long time after they’ve been used (and the barbecue chef has long abandoned it to relax!). All barbecues produce carbon monoxide which is fine outdoors, but is deadly poisonous in an enclosed space. Never take a lit or smouldering one inside a house, tent, caravan, or boat.
Potentially Harmful Garden Plants – list of poisonous plants by The Royal Horticultural Society.
Preventing accidents in the home – with people staying at home and our hospitals under enormous pressure, it’s more important than ever to prevent injuries from happening.