Now that the warm weather is here, your kids are probably spending more outdoor time in the backyard. Make sure to keep them safe with these backyard safety tips.
- Apply a broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 on your kids a half-hour prior to outdoor playtime, and reapply at least every two hours after that.
- Have them wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and loose, long-sleeved shirts and pants to further protect them from the sun.
- During hot summer days, set up shady areas for play so they can get cooling relief from the sun.
- Give them lots of water to keep hydrated.
- Never leave children unattended near a fire or hot barbecue.
- Keep stockpiled firewood off limits. Climbing is an irresistible activity for most kids, but piles of wood are dangerous, since they can easily shift, and your child could get hurt. As well, you never know what might be lurking in the pile!
- Keep your fire small, and don’t have a fire during windy weather conditions.
- Set up seating out of the range of sparks and smoke.
- Be sure to put all barbecue tools and hot dog sticks away after use.
- Extinguish the fire properly.
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Play area safety
- Backyard kiddie pools should be emptied after each use.
- Regardless of the size of the pool, always supervise children who are in or around a pool area.
- Always keep the cover on your hot tub or pool when not in use.
- Swimming pools should be surrounded by a fence or wall at least 4 feet high, but check with your municipality for more details on its requirements.
- Place trampolines on a flat surface only, and be sure to use one that has good padding and a safety net.
- Keep all play structures in good repair. Make sure that all screws, nails and bolts are fastened properly and fitted flush with the structure to prevent scrapes and cuts. Check that all non-permanent play equipment, such as a simple metal swing sets, haven’t settled unevenly or have become loose over the winter.
- Trim low-hanging branches from trees, and prune them regularly to prevent scrapes and eye injuries.
- Keep your garden hose safely out of the way by wrapping it around a hose reel after use.
- To prevent splinters and scratches, keep your wooden fence sanded, free of any loose chips, and repaint if necessary.
- Store garden tools and fertilizer in a locked shed or garage.
- Before planting this season, check with your local garden centre to find out which plants and flowers are poisonous. Some such plants are those you might never have considered, such as hydrangea and lily of the valley.
- Store ladders flat to the ground and tucked away in a garage or shed.
Other safety ideas
- Put away all toxic products and any applicators immediately after use, and keep them out of reach of children.
- Protect your kids from pesky bug bites by sending them out covered in light-coloured clothing and insect repellent.
- Always supervise your child while they’re playing.