Image courtesy of Pixabay
Written by Cindy Aldridge
With warmer weather comes the desire to spend more time outdoors, and much of this time is likely spent in your backyard. This green respite is particularly appealing to kids and pets who no longer have to suffer through frosty paws. But as fun as it is to enjoy outdoor yard time in the spring and summer, there are many hazards that you should be aware of before letting your children and pets loose.
Use Organic Lawn Products
While you want to keep your lawn and plants looking lush and green, chemical fertilizers and pesticides can be dangerous to little ones and animals alike. If your dog ingests these chemicals, he may have symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and difficulty breathing, and even death can occur. Swap out anything made with chemicals for an organic formula made with potash, phosphate, nitrogen, seaweed, grass clippings, compost, or clover. If you really want to be safe, lay off fertilizing until the end of summer. To get rid of weeds naturally, pour boiled water on problem areas or scatter corn gluten on your lawn to prevent weeds altogether.
Guard Against the Grill
Both little ones and pets are curious about a hot grill. Educating them and teaching them awareness are part of your responsibility in order to keep everyone safe:
- Like an indoor stove, explain the dangers of a grill; point out dangerous spots like heat sources.
- Keep all equipment like meat forks, skewers, lighting fluid, etc., in a safe place away from children and pets.
- Keep kids and pets occupied during the grilling process. If it’s difficult to control/watch them, move them to the front yard or indoors. Make sure someone is supervising them at all times.
- Keep the grill covered when you’re not cooking.
- If using a charcoal grill, keep hot waste like coals and ash away from pets and kids.
Practice Pool Safety
While swimming is one of summer’s greatest pastimes, more than 200 children drown in backyard pools each year. Cats and dogs aren’t immune to this danger either, as not all animals are strong swimmers. To prevent a fatal mishap, install alarms and/or fencing to keep your kids and furry friends from falling in when unattended. For example, install motion-detector alarms that go off when any doors or gates near your pool are open or when there’s movement in the water. Call a pro to put up a four-foot (minimum) fence around the pool, complete with a self-closing latch. A pool cover (especially an electric one) can serve as an extra security blanket. Of course, enrolling your kids in swimming lessons is a good idea for your peace of mind and theirs.
Mow When the Coast Is Clear
More than 80,000 people go to the emergency room for lawn mower injuries each year, so whatever you do, don’t let your kids ride a tractor while you mow. There is no place for your children or your pets while you’re mowing the lawn, so make sure everyone stays indoors until you complete the job.
Maintaining a clean, clutter-free yard is another way to avoid injuries, so put away all gardening tools, chemicals, etc., immediately after use. Make sure everyone in the family is on the same page about what they can and cannot do in the backyard. The fun, warm-weather days are coming, so make sure they’re accident-free.
Also see Home Baby Proofing Guide