The weather is cooling down, and your kids are trying to squeeze every last ounce of fun out of the backyard. They’re going for one last swim, or one last jump on the trampoline, or one last adventure into the woods. You’re thrilled to see them playing outside, but you also want them to be safe, even when you can’t have an eye on them. The same goes for their friends and any guests you have over.
The fall is a great time to instill in your child good safety habits for playing outdoors. It’s also a great time to save money on backyard safety equipment, as stores and online retailers lower their prices to make room for winter gear. Here are a few tips and products for making your backyard as safe as possible before the leaves start falling.
It can be easy to take for granted that your children know how far from the house they’re allowed to roam. Take the time to establish a boundary with your children early, even if you have a small, fenced-in yard. If you own acres of land, make sure you’ve provided clear markers for the edge of your property. Also make sure they know what areas are off limits, like storage sheds, utility meters and trees that are near power and cable lines. Help them to understand that these boundaries aren’t just about safety, but about respecting other people’s property as well.
If you have a lot of greenery in your yard or you have a house that borders a wooded area, make sure to identify any poisonous plants and teach your kids what to avoid. As plants start to die off in autumn, it can be tempting to assume that your children are safe from harm, but poison oak and sumac can remain active until well after the first frost. If you have a garden, make sure your kids understand the importance of asking you for permission before sampling the harvest. You may want to avoid harmful pesticides or sprays if you know children will be in the vicinity.
A good pool alarm can monitor your pool for any disturbances to let you know when something or someone is in the water. It can give you some peace of mind that no one is playing in or around the pool without your supervision. Additionally, a quality pool alarm isn’t going to inadvertently sound when disturbed by a small animal or strong gust of wind. Poolcenter.com offers two types of pool alarms, a side-mounted model and a floating bouy-style model that can be easily removed from the pool when you’ve given the kids permission to swim.
What kid doesn’t want a trampoline in the backyard? It’s a great form of exercise and can keep them entertained for as long as the warm weather holds up. A trampoline is going to make your house a popular destination for lots of kids, and not all of them are going to know how to jump safely. It’s always a good idea to post the rules for your trampoline. That way, everyone understands that only one child should be jumping at a time and that the safest place on the trampoline is right in the middle. If you’re considering buying a trampoline, consider a Springfree model, which re-engineered the traditional trampoline to reduce the risk of injury.
By Aaron Rote
Byline: #Chicago freelance writer and poet specializing in quick wit and quick turnarounds.