4 Backyard Safety Tips to Protect Your Kids
If you've been in the homebuying market for a while, then you know how hard it can be to find the house that best fits your family's needs. With all of the things you have to consider — location, school districts, crime rates, property tax rates — you might feel prepared. But another factor you should take into consideration is the safety of your backyard.
Follow these backyard safety tips, starting at the beginning when you pick out your home, to ensure that your family can enjoy the outdoors for years to come.
Tip #1: Scout out the Danger Zones
Each backyard has its own set of "danger zones," or areas that post a risk for kids. Scout these areas and make sure you can turn them into safe zones. Pay particular attention to things like:
- Outdated Playgrounds: You might be stoked that a home comes with a playground. But make sure that it's structurally sound, and doesn't have things like rusty edges that could potentially injure your child.
- Broken Fences: Whether wooden or metal, you need to take a walk around the fence perimeter and replace any missing sections to avoid cuts, splinters, and roaming kids.
- Slippery Patios: Check to see what material your back patio was created from. Depending on the material, you may decide to replace it to prevent the kids (and yourself) from slipping after rain.
Tip #2: Secure as Much as Possible
Look into securing the backyard to make it a sanctuary that the whole family can enjoy — without stressing about potential accidents. Pay attention to the following areas:
- Pool Area: Young families can definitely make use of homes with pools; however, you need to secure a fence/kid-safety locks around them to keep it safe for your kids along with any neighborhood children who may visit for playtime.
- Yard Perimeter: Can your kids get out to the driveway from your backyard? Do they have access to get out to the street? How easily accessible is the backyard? Are there child safety locks that control any doors leading from the house out into the backyard?
- Garage/Work Sheds: Garages are normally filled with all kinds of tools and home maintenance items that can be hazardous to your kids. If there is direct access to the garage from the backyard (or from the house), then make sure it has a child safety lock on it.
Tip #3: Check for Kid-Friendly Plants
There are commonly used landscaping plants that are actually poisonous upon ingestion. Depending on how old your kids are, you might want to peruse the landscaping and make sure it doesn't contain any potentially harmful plants.
The good news is that if you find any of these 12 poisonous plants in a home you'd like to buy, it's relatively easy to safely remove them.
Tip #4: Check for Good Sightlines
Kids love to play outside. And as they get older, you'll feel more comfortable with being able to watch them from various points in and out of your home.
Another tip is to make sure your backyard has good sight lines from various points within and outside the house. Can you wash the dishes while keeping an eye on your tweens? Can you easily see when someone enters your backyard?
Keep these backyard safety tips in mind when purchasing your home. And if you've already purchased your first house, use the tips above to identify areas in your own backyard you'll need to fix to keep things as safe as possible.