When you become a parent, you seem to develop this sixth sense for things that can harm your baby. So when you look at your backyard, there are likely dozens of hazardous things that will catch your eye. Thorny bushes, uneven pathways, garden equipment, and even the soil itself can be dangerous for your little one. And even if you plan to keep a watchful eye on your child while they explore the yard, it can only take a few seconds for them to put themselves in harm’s way—be it by scooping handful of dirt in their mouths or touching a pointy garden tool.
If you want to let your child have enough time outdoors without constantly worrying about their safety, here are some valuable tips on how you can babyproof your backyard.
Minimize uneven surfaces
Babies and toddlers don’t have great balance yet, and because of that, they can trip on the slightest uneven surface—even over their own two feet! If you want to allow your child to explore without tailing them around, minimize or eliminate uneven surfaces in your yard, such as soil piles and pathways made of gravel.
If you have pavement in your backyard, it’s also a good idea to hire a paving contractor to smooth out the edges. This way, your baby will have much fewer chances of tripping over the edge when they try to step onto or off the paved surface.
Store away garden equipment
Garden equipment can look like enticing toys in a child’s eyes. Make it a point to store them away after each use, ideally in a secure shed or the garage. As they get older, you can teach them not to play with garden equipment without your supervision. But if your child is still in toddlerhood, it’s best not to let them touch any germ-ridden garden equipment at all–you never know when they decide to taste whatever they’re holding.
Remove toxic plants
Some plants can cause negative reactions when consumed by humans. Unfortunately, children don’t know any better and may suddenly decide to munch on a few leaves. To avoid a nasty accident, take inventory of the species of plants that you have in your backyard and look them up on the Internet. If they are toxic, remove them from your backyard immediately or relocate them somewhere else.
Block access to water features
Another major hazard for babies in the backyard is pools and other water structures. Ensure that you have a security fence around the pool and keep the gates locked at all times. It also helps to have an alarm around the fence if your child slips out of your gaze and decides that they want to take a dip. Moreover, you may also want to invest in a pool cover to avoid any accidents if your child manages to get past the fence or the gate around the pool.
Fence in the deck
The deck or patio is a great space for your baby to play safely, but the grass is always greener on the side—quite literally, in this case. Prevent your baby from going beyond the deck without your supervision by installing a fence and a baby gate around the deck. If you want a temporary option, there are easy-to-install baby fences that can fit around your deck. But if you’ve been meaning to fence in the deck anyways, building a permanent fence may be the best way to go.
Insect bites hurt, especially on a baby’s sensitive skin. Protect your baby from pesky critters by inspecting the yard for pests and eliminating any you see, especially mosquitoes, ants, and ticks. Hire a pest control service if you must. But if you’re going the DIY route, ensure that your pest control measures are safe for the baby.
Put padding on sharp corners
Just like when babyproofing indoors, putting padding or cushions on sharp corners of outdoor furniture and architecture is a must. You can do this with store-bought pads or DIY cushioning made from pool noodles. Better yet, trade-in your hard furniture for cushioned ones, ideally pieces with rounded corners to minimize the chances of your child hitting their head on a sharp edge.
Keeping your baby from hurting themselves can seem like a full-time job, but it’s a normal part of parenting that’s impossible to do away with. To keep your baby safe in the outdoors as well, follow these tips when babyproofing your backyard, and always be on the lookout for potential hazards lurking in plain sight.