How To Accident Proof Your Garden This Summer

By Subodh / September 9, 2013

Your garden should be a sanctuary- your little pocket of outdoor bliss. But just because it is somewhere beautiful and relaxing, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe.

Here are the five main hazards you should look out for. As long as you take the necessary precautions, there is no reason why you can’t relax in your garden this summer.

1. Poisonous plants

Your garden might be filled with colourful flowers, berries and leaves and as beautiful as this may look, it can seem like a candy shop to a small child who might try to eat the different coloured flowers.

Therefore, if you have children, it is important to teach them not to eat plants and if you have very young children, don’t leave them in the garden unsupervised.

Try to identify what plants are in your garden to see whether anything is poisonous. If you are worried about this, it might be best remove any highly toxic plants altogether such as: foxgloves, deadly nightshade, mistletoe, rhubarb and oleander.

Of course, most plants pose no threat but there are less toxic plants that can still be harmful to humans. For example ingesting buttercups can damage your digestive system and similarly, eating daffodils can cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Even well-known flowers like Chrysanthemums can cause dermatitis.

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2. Ponds and pools

One of the most serious hazards in any garden is water, whether that is a pond, paddling pool or swimming pool. I would not advise getting a water feature like this if you have children under 5 but if you already have one in your garden, there are plenty of precautions to take, to make your pool or pond safe.

Firstly, there are two key things to consider: is the pond or pool visible from the house? And is the pond/pool accessible from ground level?

It is always safer to be able to see any water feature from the house because you can quickly spot if there has been an accident. This is a good extra-precautionary measure but you should still never leave children by a pool or pond unsupervised.

If your pond or pool is easily accessible then you need to think about fencing it off or surrounding it by a small hedge. For ponds, it is best to get a raised pond as this is hard to access by smaller children. It is also worth considering a pond cover, which could seal off the pond while your children are playing in the garden.

If you are using a paddling pool, make sure you empty it after you’ve used it, as that is a hazard easily avoided

Swimming and paddling are one of the many joys of summer so by all means, enjoy a cool, refreshing splash this summer, but remember to take all the necessary precautions.

Gardening chemicals, tools and ladders

One of the main causes of gardening accidents is inexperienced gardeners attempting to use complex tools. We all want a beautiful garden on a budget, but you have to know your gardening limits and be prepared to call in the professionals for anything you feel uncomfortable with.

Try to avoid the use of chemicals in gardening as these can be harmful to children and wildlife. If it is necessary, use sparingly and always keep them locked away. And remember just because a product has ‘bio’ or ‘organic’ written across its packaging does not mean it is safe – it can be just as harmful in the wrong hands.

Lawnmowers are one of the most common causes for a trip to A&E.  Always make sure you are wearing the appropriate safety equipment such as gloves and steel capped shoes and check the manufacturer’s instructions before using any new equipment.

Don’t tamper with any electrical equipment or attempt to repair anything yourself. If in doubt, return the equipment to the shop and get professional advice.

Most importantly, never use electrical equipment in the rain.

Take care when using a ladder and always make sure it is secured. When working high up, whether it is on a ladder or another object, always make sure it is a steady surface. Falling from a height with a full operational power tool is very dangerous.

Fires and BBQs

Whether it is grilling burgers on a BBQ or adding atmosphere in a Chiminea or fire pit, fire it is still dangerous.

Firstly, buy a fire extinguisher. This may seem a bit drastic to some but it is always good to be prepared. Always, ensure that the fire is completely out before leaving the garden.

To make any fire safe for children to be around, establish a 3-foot safety zone around the fire and make sure any children stick to it. Most importantly, do not leave children unattended by any kind of fire.

Trampolines

Trampolines are one of the most popular children’s outdoor toys and although they are great fun and provide good exercise, they can be very dangerous.

There are of course risks inherent in bouncing high into the air, but it’s easy to reduce the chances of any accidents, whilst still keeping the trampoline a fun garden favourite.

Make sure you buy a trampoline with cushioned edges to soften any falls. You can also buy trampolines that have netted sides, to prevent children from falling and these are probably the safest.

Most accidents occur when there are two or more people on the trampoline at once. This is particularly a problem if one child weighs more than the other, as the lightest can get thrown off. Try to stick to one child at a time to avoid any unnecessary falls.

If something is faulty then you can claim for injury but how you use something is down to your judgement. Be aware of the risks and take all the necessary precautions and you’ve got a summer of fun and relaxation in the garden ahead of you.

Do you have any great garden safety tips? Or hazards to watch out for?