Injury Research and Policy Backyard Safety :: Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Backyard Safety

Playing outside is a great way for kids to exercise and have fun. However, backyards can be full of potential dangers. Parents should take steps to make sure their yards are safe for kids to enjoy.

Pools and Hot Tubs

  • More than 1,000 children die from drowning every year.

  • More than half of the drownings could be prevented if parents put up a 4-sided fence around the pool. The fence should be at least 4 feet high and have a gate that closes and latches on its own.

  • Hot tubs should be covered with a hard cover and locked when not in use.

  • Parents should set and enforce strict rules for the pool.

  • Children should only use the pool if an adult is watching them carefully. This means the adult is close enough to touch them and is not distracted by reading or talking.

  • Keep a phone by the pool in case of emergencies.

Play Equipment and Tree Houses

  • Falls are the leading cause of injury among children. The most serious falls are ones from great heights and over hard surfaces.

  • Tree houses should be low to the ground. A tree house that is greater than 10 feet in the air is too high.

  • Cover the ground under swing sets, tree houses and play equipment with 12 inches of wood chips or mulch. This will help reduce the shock of a fall.

  • Never attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, or pet leashes to play equipment. These can cause strangulation.

  • Injury experts recommend not having any kind of trampoline in your backyard.

  • An adult should always watch young children playing outside.

 

Barbecue Grills

 

  • Keep the grill at least 10 feet away from other objects, including the house and bushes.

  • Do not let children outside near the grill.

  • Always stand by the grill while cooking.

  • Never use the grill inside or in the garage.

  • Store propane tanks in the garage, not in the house.

 

Plants

 

  • Check your yard for poisonous plants. If you are not sure, you can call 1-800-222-1222 for a list of poisonous plants common to your area.

  • Remove these plants if they are within your child’s reach.

  • Teach your children to never put any berries, flowers or plants in their mouths.

  • If you think your child has swallowed a poisonous plant, call 1-800-222-1222.

Lawn Mowers

  • Do not mow your lawn while children are outside. They could be hit with a rock or stick thrown by the mower.

  • Never allow children younger than 12 years old to mow the lawn.

  • Keep the mower locked away out of reach of children. Never let children ride or play on the lawn mower.

Poisons

  • Chemicals, cleaners, gas, car fluids, pesticides and fertilizers can be poisonous.

  • Always tightly replace the lids of poisonous products and lock them up out of sight and reach of children.

  • If your lawn has been treated with pesticides or fertilizer, do not let children play on it for at least 48 hours.

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