6 tips for garden safety for toddlers

gardensafety

Since pond-gate (which I’ve been talking about on my social media but have as of yet to write about with the hack that happened to the blog last week – Edie fell in the pond for those of you that don’t know) I’ve put a lot of thought into garden safety for toddlers. It was traumatic. She’s fine, I’m considering counselling. I have joined Adam in the ranks of the neurotically charged mama bear. In our little tribe, Adam has always been the worrier when we are out with the kids whereas I am laid back to the point I’m almost horizontal. I have three kids to chase around after, and I’m a firm believer in giving kids the chance to blossom, to learn, without an adult hovering. I’m not totally crazy, I have certain rules – don’t go out of sight, don’t talk to strangers, no going near water without at adult (looking at you Edie Rose, looking. at. you.) etc.

Now we have had a major fright with Edie falling in the pond – when I was in the kitchen and the kids were playing in the garden ( which is thankfully in view of the kitchen window so I was out there like superman on acid) – we have started to examine the safety features around the house and I thought I’d share the things that we feel we need to change – will you share your ideas too please? Maybe we can all keep our kids safe together!

Visibility

Can you see the kids when they are outside? If not, maybe you need to think about whether or not they are old enough to go outside alone. I feel like I could trust Reuben to behave and not go near anything I thought was unsafe, but Toby not so much. I can see my kids from my kitchen sink, so if I’m in the kitchen cooking I watch them through the window. I can’t see them from my office so I take my laptop outside and “supervise” whatever random activity the kids have cooked up this time. If I go to the toilet, I’ve always told Reuben to “keep an eye and shout me if anyone needs anything I will be less than 2 minutes” but I’m panicked now and take Edith inside with me. It isn’t fair to lay that responsibility on a 5 year old.

Dangly things

Vines, wire for planting, swings, pull cords… god there is a plethora of things that your kids could get tangled up in that are just normal in a garden. Not to freak you out, but rather raise awareness for the potential dangers, I would suggest sweeping through your garden and making sure that the children can’t get near anything that they could get tangled in – we had some wiring for tall plants right by the climbing frame… I just never saw it as an issue! Parenting fail number 203.

Gates and escape routes.

Much like an over enthusiastic puppy, kids (especially those rambunctious toddlers) have a natural ability to escape their confines. We have gone through everything and made sure that our gates are locked or properly latched with the latch out of reach for Edith. Similarly, with nightmares that she might burrow like a rabid bunny through that old hole in our fence, we’ve patched it up and made it safe.

Ponds and bodies of water.

You can read my thoughts on garden ponds in my previous post, and I still stand strong with those thoughts. I don’t think that a garden pond should automatically be filled in because you’ve had a bambino. Rather I feel that I need to change my attitude of trust towards the kids, specifically Edith. The old “don’t go past the barrier” isn’t enough for her, so I have to either stay outside with her or unfortunately ban her from going out with her brothers. The boys I still trust as they genuinely adhere to our rules… One thing I would say is don’t get a “child friendly” cover – it only teaches young children that they can go over ponds and has often caused an issue where a child has slipped under.

Poisonous plants

Do you have them? I will never forget a friend of mine falling into a poison ivy plant as when we were kids, she was left with an absolutely horrendous rash and was in agony for days. With that little peach of a memory in my mind, I’ve never had poisonous plants in my garden, even though some of them look beautiful. We also do a “we don’t eat/touch plants we don’t know” talk every time we go to the woods… and while I’m on the subject of poisonous, let’s just be a touch cautious around snakes if living in the countryside shall we? I took the boys on a woodland walk and we were staring at a little snake we found, only for Adam to go ape-shit when I showed him the pictures of the boys stood a mere foot away from the snake and bending down to look at it, as it turns out it was an adder. They were a frequent visitor to his parent’s home and as a result from a VERY young age, he knew snakes were a “run like usain bolt is chasing you” kind of bag.

Climbing and falling.

Not a lot you can do about this one is there? The best thing I would suggest is doing a quick scout to see if anything can be removed or barricaded to prevent climbing, if not, just repetition of the boundaries is the only thing to do!

So, there are your 6 tips for making your garden safe for kids from your now friendly helicopter mum… add your tips below and we can all enter the realm of nervous wreck together!

H x

30 Comments

  1. August 22, 2016 / 12:59 pm

    Such a great post, I’ve sent this on to my sister who has moved into a house with a pond at the end of the garden. Thanks for the tips!

    • Harriet August 22, 2016 / 8:31 am

      Aw Candice you are so kind! Thank you!

  2. August 17, 2016 / 10:17 am

    Great post, yes mine love dangly things so we avoid having any or at least ones they can reach that would be dangerous 😉

  3. Hannah
    August 17, 2016 / 9:33 am

    So many good tips here – super important kids are safe with them! X

    • Harriet August 22, 2016 / 8:37 am

      Oh thank you Hannah x

  4. August 17, 2016 / 8:28 am

    Aw, it seems like a fantastic day out. I’ve got a few friends with kids and I’m forwarding this one off to them now!

  5. August 17, 2016 / 8:04 am

    OMG Edie, I could imagine the fright! So glad she’s well. My neighbour have a pond but they put a covering over it and 20+ year later the kids are grown up and the wire is still on top lol x

    • Harriet August 17, 2016 / 8:09 am

      I’ve written the full story on the blog today Laa Laa – it was SO stressful! H x

    • Harriet August 17, 2016 / 8:09 am

      It’s scary right?!

  6. August 16, 2016 / 9:27 pm

    This post is made for me.. toddlers do get themselves into proper little pickles don’t they!

    • Harriet August 17, 2016 / 8:10 am

      Ahh see I just think that is such a waste of a teaching resource! I do see why people do it though! H x

  7. August 16, 2016 / 5:15 pm

    There are some really important and amazing tips here!

  8. August 16, 2016 / 1:57 pm

    My mummy is always nervous of me around open water and she always goes into super hypersensitive mode. We can totally relate to your anxiety. Great tips x

  9. August 16, 2016 / 11:24 am

    Great useful tips here. The kids always want to play in the garden, so we try to make it safe.

    • Harriet August 17, 2016 / 8:15 am

      It’s hard right?! So scary!

  10. August 16, 2016 / 11:06 am

    Great post, I hate seeing ponds in gardens with young children. You hear of so many accidents with them its just not worth it. Also trampolines are actually really dangerous! They see more and more casulties in A&E because of these over the summer with broken ankles and arms

    • Harriet August 17, 2016 / 8:16 am

      Ahh I’d have to disagree with you there – it’s like banning climbing frames because they are hazards – you just have to teach the kids how to be safe and be vigilant!

  11. August 16, 2016 / 9:51 am

    Very nice tips, My mother in law has to make sure the garden is safe for my niece as she look after her every week and the mum of my niece is very fussy!

  12. August 16, 2016 / 9:46 am

    We had a pond when I was younger but it was fenced off with a gate which was padlocked and we could only watch the fish when my Dad was there.

    • Harriet August 17, 2016 / 8:17 am

      Yes – we have a barrier wall and they know not to pass it but… well, Edith is Edith and will totally ignore any rule !!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *