Playing outside can be a time of great fun, learning and development for under 5s.
But there are several risks lurking outside the home that parents and carers need to be aware of before letting little ones play in the garden.
This year’s Spring Safety campaign covers Outdoor Play with safety tips provided below.
The three most common accidental causes of your under 5 needing a trip to hospital is from one of the following three risks.
Just like inside the home, falling while carrying your baby can seriously injure them. The advice we provide inside the home is the same as outside:
- Keep pathways, steps, and paving clear of trip hazards, before carrying your baby outside.
Watching your child crawl and learn to walk inside the home is usually safe. But falling backwards on to paving, or pathways, outside the home can cause injuries. Before walking confidently, there are many falls while learning – or even cruising between seats or furniture. Because of this:
- We recommend crawlers and toddlers are not outside to move around while in this stage of development.
Once they’ve mastered walking, they will still be unsteady on their feet, so:
- Supervise their time outside closely and be ready to catch them if they stumble.
More developed children should be fine playing outside and may come back inside with a grazed knee or hands – this is all part of their learning. But if you have raised areas in your garden:
- Do not allow children to play at the top of steps or near edges of raised areas where accidents can happen.
Again, just like inside the home, removing dangerous garden items and tools from your child’s reach is an important step in keeping them safe. Before any children in your home play outside, ensure:
- Powered outdoors machinery (hedge trimmers, lawnmowers, pressure washers, etc) are switched off and put away in a place that can be locked and out of reach.
- Garden tools (secateurs, knives, spades, forks, etc) should also be put in a lockable place.
- DIY tools and pressurised canisters should also be kept away from young children and stored in a locked location.
- Folding garden chairs also cause injuries to young children. Do not allow under 5s to set up, or collapse, garden furniture.
If your child is old enough to understand, try teaching them about the dangers these things above can be if misused or played with.
Pesticides, plant feeds, paint – there’s plenty of poisonous things that can be found in the garden. Many of these things will be colourful and innocent little ones could want to pour, play with and even eat these items:
- Keep any pesticides (like slug pellets or poisons), paints, glues, plant feed and fuel away from the reach of children and in a locked place – like a shed or storage structure.
- When using anything in your garden, ensure you use them somewhere your child can’t reach! Unsure of where that may be? Try looking at the world from your child’s point of view. Get down on the floor to see thing from their eye level.