Childproofing the Backyard

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,211
    Dr. Jamie Freishtat, a Pediatrician from Safe Kids USA, will show you how to childproof your backyard.

    Dr. Jamie Freishtat: Hi! I am Dr. Jamie Freishtat, a Pediatrician from Safe Kids USA. Today I'm discussing childproofing room-by-room, and right now we're in the backyard. Children love playing in the yard, and this a great thing. But we need to remember that we need to keep things as safe as possible in the backyard, just like every other room in the home. First and foremost, there should always be appropriate adult supervision in the backyard, no matter what age the child is. Now let's talk about the falls, we wanted to make sure that all walkways are clear of any toys or garden tools, so kids don't fall. Keep all sharp objects up high, out of reach insight of children and locked up. Next when I think about falls, I think about playground equipment. Be sure the play equipment is in good condition; and that there are no missing, loose or broken parts. Don't use the equipment if you discover any of these until they have been properly fixed. Also check for any potentially dangerous hardware, which could pose a strangulation hazard. Use hardware provided or recommended by the manufacturer. Next, be sure that kids are playing on age appropriate equipment and keep all strangulation risks away from the equipment. For example, remove bike helmet, scarves, and all strings prior to play. Another important safety major is the use op an appropriate protective surfacing under and around the play equipment. Some examples include, wood mulch, wood chips, and sand, and shredded recycled rubber mulch. Depending upon the type equipment you have, its height and the type of protecting surfacing you use, the depth of the surfacing and the amount to which it needs to extend around the equipment will vary. For details, go to the Customer Public Safety Commission website, cpsc.

    gov and consult their handbook on playground safety.

    Next, let's talk about drowning; a lot of people think of drowning only if you have a pool, but in fact, children can drown in as little as an inch of water. So you want to be sure that if you're using buckets, baby pools, inflatable pools or any water source at all, that when you're done, you always dump the water and store the bucket, pool, or whatever it is you're using, upside down, high-up, out of the child's reach, and locked-up. And of course, close adult supervision by responsible, undistracted adults is a must at all times in or near any water.

    Now in terms of pool, you always want to be sure that there is a fence enclosing the entire parameter of the pool, it is at least 5 feet high and made of a material which is not easily climbable. The fence should have a self closing, self locking gate that is not usually opened. And you want to make sure there is always life saving equipment, right by the pool, just in case there is an accident. Parents should always be within an arms reach of their child or closer. And never assume that just because the child can swim, that they are drown-proof.

    And adult supervising children should be trained in Infant and Child CPR. Also you never want to leave any toys or floaters or any sort of sports equipment or anything like that in the pool, which may entice the child to go back into the pool after you're done swimming. Parents need to be aware of the risk of entrapment. Entrapment is when part of a child's body, bathing suite or hair become stuck in a drain due to the strong suction that child can actually drown from this.

    Parents need to be sure that correct devices are installed on all drains and drain systems. If you have a hot tub, you want to make sure that it is locked and closed when not in use. As an extra layer of protection, parents need to consider window and door alarms on their houses to alert them if the child leaves the home. Next we're going to talk about poisonings. In the backyard there is a risk of dangerous berries and plants, so parents need to be watching their kids at all times and just scan the yard for the presence of these. In addition, never leave around dangerous products such as pesticides, chemicals, and household cleaners. These must always be kept in their original containers and kept high-up, out of reach, out of sight and locked-up.

    Next is chocking. We wanted to be sure that parents keep a close eye on small children, in particular, babies, toddlers, and preschool-age kids when they're in the backyard, because they may put small things, such as pebbles and mulch in their mouth.

    Next is burn safety, if you use any heat or fire producing cooking sources, such as a grill or a fire pit, be very careful, be sure there is close adult supervision at all times and create and enforce a kid-free zone around these dangerous items at all times. Another potential source for burn is hot plate equipment. So always check to be sure that is cool before use.

    I hope I've provided you with some valuable tips to getting started to child proofing your home. Remember that a safe kid is a happy kid, and child-proofing is one of very important part of keeping your child safe.