Due to the COVID-19 pandemic many children were at home through the school term following the national lockdown and self isolation safety laws. In the summer months most children have a chance to spend time not only at home but in the garden, made more enjoyable due to the warmer weather.
I can't forget one school holiday when my son at the age of seven fell off the garden wall into a rosebush. His entire face was scratched and looked awful but thankfully it was just a surface wound. The wall he fell off was low and for this reason I never saw it as a danger. In fact, I saw the small wall as some sort of climbing block as I would watch him many times have fun walking along it. In the garden things that bring enjoyment can quickly turn into something that can caused harm. That was a major lesson I learned that day and although some may think it was a small unavoidable accident I disagree. The rosebush next to the wall could have been changed for a soft grass area which would have protected my son when he fell. Over the years I have introduced more grass areas, added a security net around a trampoline and removed old play equipment. The changes I made were no cost and low cost yet it gave me peace of mind which is worth a great deal. Take a look around your garden and see what simple design changes you can make to increase the child safety aspect of you outdoor space. Below are some facts and figures along with points on common danger areas in the garden and tips on how to make them safer.
Millions of children are seriously injured in the garden every year which is a clear indication that parents need constantly reminding that the garden can be a danger zone. According to a report by Churchill insurance 21 per cent of parents (7.1 million) have had their child injured either at home or at someone else’s property over the past year. The same reports states that the leading cause of outdoor injury amongst children is garden play equipment, such as slides, swings and trampolines, accounting for nearly half (47 per cent) of injuries. Below is a table containing the most common garden play injuries sustained by children in the past year.
Source: Churchill Home Insurance 2020
Here are tips from the Consumer Safety Campaign leaflet to help you stay aware of other common danger areas.
- Tools: Never leave sharp tools lying around or in the garden while your children are playing.
- Fences, walls & gates: Kids can easily slip out through holes in fences, wall and gates and get on to busy roads. Make sure your garden is secure by keeping these in good repair.
- Play equipment: Swings and climbing frames should be securely fixed and well maintained. Don't put them on hard surfaces like gravel or paving, or near glass greenhouses.
- BBQs: BBQs can be a major fire hazard. Never leave them unattended when children are around. Lit BBQs give off Carbon Monoxide so should never be used indoors.
- Pathways: Broken or uneven paths and steps cause tens of thousands of nasty accidents every year. Keep them clean, well maintained and safe for everyone.
- Sheds: Teach your children not to play in the shed. Use it to lock away dangerous chemicals like weed killers, sharp tools and electrical equipment when not in use.
- Electrical equipment: Unplug electrical equipment when it is not in use. Never use it in the wet and keep it in good repair. Fitting an RCD (residual current device) could save a life.
- Animal: Always keep an eye on children when they are playing with animals, and make sure your animals are kept under control.
- Poisonous plants: Make sure you know which plants in your garden are poisonous and keep them out of reach of young children.
- Drownings - home & garden
- Each year up to II children are killed as a result of drowning in the garden. Research shows that such incidents are more likely to happen in someone else's garden. In fact 80% of pond drownings happen in gardens belonging to neighbours, relatives and friends.
- Drowning is the third largest cause of accidental death in the home in under-fives.
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