How to Childproof your Backyard

Backyards can pose serious hazards to children if not properly set up.  Children, and at times their parents, are professionals at wedging into railings, falling down deck stairs, or bouncing into furniture.  A few simple precautions and outdoor safe furniture will prevent many of these accidents. Dive in and see how you can easily childproof your backyard this summer. 

Provide Safety

Gaps more than 3 inches wide in railings offer enough space for kids to attempt their Great Escape reenactment.  Railing covering options include plastic garden fencing, shade cloth, a sheet of clear plastic, or rigid sheets of Plexiglas.  Plexiglas is difficult to work with, especially precise cuts to match your deck railing dimensions.  Plexiglas is the most durable option of the choices. Another option,  “Bannister Guard” and “Bannister Shield” is a less expensive and easier to set-up option than Plexiglass. 

Secure railings with ladder-like horizontal bars, which children could use to climb up and over the top, from inside the deck.  Fitting wooden slats and spindles are other, at times more expensive and requiring carpentry skills, options.  Ensure all deck furniture is far enough away from railings to eliminate children climbing over the railing.  Installation of a childproof gate at the top of the deck stairs, and at times the bottom, should be a priority as well. 

According to the CDC, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death for children between the ages of 1 and 4. Without a doubt, water safety should be a top priority. To avoid possible accidents, consider adding a fence around your pool or outdoor water features. Alternatively, many companies now make covers for both in-ground and above ground pools.

Kid Friendly Furniture

Wicker furniture is an amazing outdoor furniture for its durability and eye appeal.  It’s lightweight, sturdy, and typically has rounded edges adding safety for those high energy kids zipping around the deck.  Weatherproof cushions, brightly colored and paired with wicker furniture, offer an inviting place to spend time outside.  

Choose seating built specifically for kids.  Some companies even build matching adult and kids sized outdoor seating for an uniformed outdoor design!  Outdoor dining or coffee tables with rounded edges are typically the safest option.

Sun Protection

The summer sun can be fiercely hot.  Protect children from the heat with shade near play and sitting areas.  Portable patio umbrellas, with the ability to slant, are great options for the deck.  A retractable canopy over dining and seating areas is another option to cover larger areas and protect children from seasonal elements.

Visibility

A well-lit deck at night increases visibility to avoid bumping into furniture.  Dimming lights are perfect if the deck doubles as an outdoor movie seating area.  Block-off deck firepits and keep candles, especially bug-repellant ones, out of children’s reach.  Enjoy the deck all hours of the day!

 

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