There is no better feeling than watching your little one run free around your backyard. Making sure that certain safety measures are in place can give you the ability to step away and let your baby or toddler play outside safely. Different safety measures will be necessary depending on your backyard’s layout so we’ve categorized some steps to take based on your backyard set up. Below, you’ll learn what every parent will need based on their backyard to protect babies or toddlers.
How to Keep Your Baby Safe In Your Backyard
Different backyards will require different safety measures, but there are some steps that can be taken to keep any backyard safe for babies and toddlers.
Consider Possible Dangers
One of the most important first steps to take in making sure you have a baby-safe backyard, is to notice any potential risk factors. Do you live on a street with a lot of traffic or have a neighbor with an escape artist for a dog? Take some time to evaluate your surrounding area and consider what the actual risks for your baby are. This can help you think of a plan to keep your baby safe and prepare for all scenarios.
Any backyard with some form of fencing is inherently safer than an open backyard because your toddler will stay contained and you'll only have to control whatever risk factors fall into that parameter.
If you have an open backyard, you can secure parameters by installing a permanent or temporary fence. Putting up a permanent fence is probably one of the most fool-proof ways to secure your yard. However, not everyone has the option to fence off their yard whether they face neighborhood regulations or simply can’t afford it. (It’s a pretty hefty job!)
Luckily, there are plenty of temporary fence options that can serve a similar purpose and are more affordable. Mesh fencing and even large pet gates can be a great way to secure the parameters of your yard to keep your baby or toddler contained.
The easiest form of securing parameters is investing in a nice, spacious playpen for your baby.
Safety Tips for Backyards with Pools
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children ages 1 to 4 have the highest rates of drowning, and most of these incidents happen in home swimming pools.
If you have a pool, baby proofing your backyard is a safety measure that should not be taken lightly. Many states have very strict laws about providing baby-proof fencing around pools and spas, and there’s a reason for this.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep your pool deck safe so you can still enjoy the benefits of having a pool without worrying about your baby getting injured. It just comes down to doing your research and taking the necessary steps to secure your yard.
Invest in a pool cover
Keeping your pool covered when it isn’t in use is an ideal way to keep your child safe. Make sure your pool cover fits well and can support an adult’s weight. If rain water collects on top of the pool cover, be sure to drain or pump this water immediately because it only takes a couple of inches of water for a drowning injury to occur. Always be sure to remove the cover completely when people are swimming in the pool and lock the cover into place when the pool is not in use.
Add fencing around your pool
Pool covers don’t always fit on large or irregularly shaped pools so fencing is a great option if a pool cover won't work for your pool, or if you just want to double up on safety measures. Fencing around your pool can truly keep toddlers away, and it is a great way to start the discussion of why they need to be safe around the pool. Make sure that any furniture or items that can be used to climb the fence are kept far away. Typically, building codes require pool fences to fit a certain criteria. Self-latching gates are the safest option because they eliminate the risk of the gate being left open by mistake.
Get a pool alarm
There are two different types of pool alarms: one type of alarm is designed to sound if a heavy object is detected falling into the pool and the other alarm is designed to shoot light beams around the pool’s parameter acting as an electrical fence. The alarm will also go off if the beam is broken. Both of these alarms can serve the purpose of warning you if your child falls in the water but false alarms can happen and be inconvenient. You’ll also have to be close enough to hear the alarm sound so it may not be ideal for a larger home.
Get CPR Certified
Having a CPR certification and knowing what to do if your baby falls into a pool can allow you to act as quickly as possible and potentially save their life. Every second counts when it comes to drowning injuries and being able to act before first responders show up is a vital action. At least one adult in your family should absolutely get trained in CPR and you can easily find local CPR training programs (many are free) from your local Red Cross and other charities.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children begin swim lessons as early as one year old. Although, knowing to swim won’t guarantee that your child is safe from drowning injuries, it is still an important measure that can give you added peace of mind. Make sure you are always watching any young child learning to swim, as any accidental ingestion of water can cause a panic.
Additional Safety Steps for Protecting Baby in the Backyard
Even gated backyards that don’t have pools can pose some hazards for babies and toddlers. Here are a few more tips for keeping your baby or toddler safe when playing outside in the backyard.
● Survey your backyard for dangerous or poisonous plant species. Toddlers can easily poison themselves by eating a plant by accident.
● Be aware of the harmful chemicals in herbicides and pesticides. If these are products that you use in your yard, be sure to keep your toddler inside when your lawn has recently been treated. Waiting at least 48 hours after treatment is recommended.
● If you have a play set or swing set in your backyard, be sure that it has been set up properly and that there aren’t any loose or unstable areas. Always supervise toddlers when they are using playsets.
● Babies and toddlers love to put things in their mouths, so determine if you have any rocks or mulch in your yard that could be a choking hazard. Watch your baby closely when they play in these areas or try to keep them contained in a grassy area that doesn't have any mulch or rocks.
● Take weather conditions into consideration. If you live in a hot, sunny area, make sure to limit outside time so your toddler doesn’t overheat or experience sunburn. Invest in a sunshade or playpen with a sun cover.
● Be aware of insects or pests in your yard such as fire ants and snakes. Utilize pest control to keep ant piles at bay and direct your toddler to play in areas that are ant-free. Keep an eye out for any snakes in your yard while your toddler is playing as well.
The California Beach Co., takes child safety very seriously. One way you can practice backyard safety with your baby or toddler is by utilizing the Pop ‘N Go Playpen; it can be easily set up in your backyard, it’s completely portable, and will keep your baby in a safe, secure area.