Kids need the fresh air, sunshine, and exercise they get from playing outside. While outdoor play is important for physical and emotional health, it can also present some dangers. As you strive to create an enjoyable backyard play area for children, keep safety in mind, as well. You can add features and components to your yard that can help keep children safer. It’s important to have playground equipment that is appropriate for children’s specific ages. Even something as simple as a sun-blocking patio umbrella can offer important shade from the sun’s burning rays.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission presents statistics about home playgrounds and guidelines for keeping children safe. About 51,000 children are injured in home playground accidents each year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caution that approximately 10 people die each day from unintentional drowning. Of these 10 deaths, two are kids aged 14 or younger.
Swimming Safety Tips (PDF)
Parents must follow safety guidelines to keep children safe when swimming. A backyard pool can be enjoyable for the whole family, but it necessitates constant supervision of children to ensure their safety.
Families may use pesticides in and around a home to control pests. If you use pesticides on a lawn or landscape, store these poisons carefully to keep them away from children. Take shoes off before entering your home to prevent potential tracking of pesticides.
Spring Safety Tips (PDF)
When children venture back outdoors in the spring, parents should observe guidelines to keep them safe. Basic safety includes supervision around water, using sunscreen to prevent sunburns, and supervising play on equipment.
The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department provides guidelines for parents to follow while completing outdoor work in the yard. For safety, keep garden implements away from children, store gasoline for a lawnmower out of children’s reach, and place shock-absorbing materials on the ground under playground equipment.
Youngsters between the ages of 1 and 9 are at the greatest risk of drowning in swimming pools, according to information published by the Ohio Department of Health.
Parents can work to prevent injuries in and around the home by supervising children’s play around swimming pools and backyard playground equipment.
Any standing water can be dangerous for children. Even a few inches of water can present a drowning risk for a young child.
Parents must remain vigilant for a variety of dangers in the backyard, including water, poisons, and grilling accidents.
The County of Fairfax, Virginia, provides guidelines for supervising children to keep them safe. For example, children under the age of 7 should never be left unsupervised for any length of time. Once children are old enough to play independently for short periods, parents must still remain nearby and vigilant for safety.
Many play structures are made out of pressure treated wood, but, according to the State of Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, this type of wood can be dangerous to children.
Children using backyard trampolines may suffer injuries. Kids between the ages of 5 and 15 are at the greatest risk for injuries from trampolines. Adult supervision can help to minimize injuries.
Summer Safety for Kids (PDF)
The Houston Police Department recommends surrounding a backyard pool with a fence to restrict children’s access to the water.
Keep children out of midday sun to prevent dangerous sunburns. A patio umbrella can provide shade on a sunny day. Sunscreen can also be effective for minimizing sun exposure.
Even a small, inflatable baby pool can present water dangers for small children. Parents must never leave children unattended around water.
Families may enjoy spending time around backyard fire pits, but these structures can present dangers to children. Always supervise children around a fire, and keep screens in place to prevent flying embers.
Playground Safety (PDF)
Maintain outdoor playground equipment carefully to keep children safe. Check anchors and hardware regularly. Watch for sharp edges and rusty bolts and repair these issues.
Children are often attracted to fires and grills. Whenever you cook outside on a grill, keep children away from the heat. This “kid-free zone” around the grill can prevent dangerous burns from occurring.
Never leave a grill unattended when children are outside in the yard. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby during grilling.
Playground Safety (PDF)
The surface on the ground below playground equipment is important for minimizing injuries from falls. A minimum of 12 inches of surface materials is recommended.
Pediatric First Aid (PDF)
The American Red Cross offers instructions for basic first-aid to help parents respond after an injury. For example, learn how to stop bleeding and how to respond in a poisoning emergency.