Just like you babyproof your entire house, you also need to babyproof your backyard.
The backyard is home to a whole range of hazards that can cause serious injuries to a small developing baby.
Beside the common dangers like the pool and toxic plants, there are a lot of hidden hazards that get less attention.
Discover these often ignored hazards and learn how to make your backyard safe for your baby.
You will also find great tips on how to babyproof your deck, how to babyproof your garden, and creating a safe playing area for your baby in your backyard.
How To Make Your Backyard Safe For Baby
Follow this guide to discover dangerous hazards and babyproof your backyard.
Remove All Outdoor Hazards
The following are common hazards you will find in most backyard. Check your backyard and start babyproofing.
Your backyard is home to different things that can choke a small baby.
Common backyard choking hazards include, pebbles, pet food, small fruit (and their pits) from plants.
Choking hazards are any objects that are less than 3cm (1,25 inches) wide and less than 6cm (2,25 inches) that can choke a small baby (source).
Check your backyard for these dangerous hazards every time before taking your little one outside.
Everytime we think of household draining hazards, the pool or the bathtub come to mind.
However, there are other drowning hazards you might overlook.
Believe it or not, small water puddles pose a risk for drowning for small babies. The same goes for a fountain.
Your pet’s water dish can also cause drowning.
Check puddles after rainfall and keep your baby away from your pet’s water dish.
Avoid leaving buckets and outside tubs with water. A baby can easily drown in them if they attempt to climb over.
Lastly, fence off your pool.
Get a local professional to properly babyproof your pool if you cannot do it yourself.
You can also keep your empty and covered to be extra cautious.
Always supervise your baby when they are around the pool, even with fencing.
Your backyard is likely to have sharp objects that can easily cut a baby’s skin and result in bleeding.
Sharp household items such as outdoor equipment and tools, nails, broken fences, thorns and dry branches on trees are dangerous for babies.
Heavy equipment should be placed away where your baby will not go close to it.
You want to avoid heavy items falling over your baby.
Keep you baby away from areas that they can climb to avoid falls and tragic injuries.
Gates, tables, rocks, stacked wood, all these things tempt a curious baby to climb, especially when they are crawling or learning how to walk.
Sharp Edges and Corners On Outside Tables And Chairs
As with your indoor furniture, outdoor tables and chairs need to be safe for a baby.
Use corner edge protectors to secure sharp corners.
Place edge protectors along the length of the tables to prevent injury if your baby bumps onto them.
Your baby will not get severely injured if they simply bump against a corner or a table edge.
The problem is when they fall and hit their head. Using edge protectors will reduce the severity of such injuries.
Keep your baby away from the barbecue area. It is a dangerous place for your baby to be.
Your baby can suffer serious burns from the hot coals and hot surfaces on the barbecue.
A baby can suffer burns from equipment standing in the sun.
Any object that has been in the sun for a prolonged period of time will be hot enough to cause burns and scalds on a small baby’s delicate skin.
Items such as toys, hosepipe, outside tools and metal structures can all cause burns when hot. Keep an eye on your baby.
Baby Friendly Playground Equipment
Playing equipment for your older children (if you have) will not be suitable for your small baby.
To avoid unnecessary stress and headaches, fence off this area to save your baby from injury.
Always Check The Outdoors Before Your Baby Goes Outside
You want to avoid surprise hazards that could have found their way into your backyard since the last time you and your baby were outside.
These include choking hazards, sharp objects, small water puddles, insects and bugs, poisonous mushrooms, etc)
Use Baby Gates and Fencing Where Possible
In cases where it is impossible or not practical to remove the dangerous hazards discussed above from your yard, it is best to use baby gates or fencing.
Here are reasons you should fence off hazards:
- To keep your baby away the garden and poisonous plants
- Keep your baby from the pet area. Since babies eat everything, you should also keep your pets from your baby’s toys (and keep pet toys away from your little baby.
- Restrict access to all other dangerous areas in your backyard like the pool.
Fencing can also help restrict access to the road.
Ideally, you want your baby to be in the backyard away from the busy road.
However, if your yard area is small and your baby can benefit from a larger ground space in the front of your home, make sure this area is fenced.
Getting a fence for your yard might seem expensive but it is necessary, and you will have a peace of mind knowing your baby is safe.
Babyproof The Patio
If your patio has concrete flooring, you might want to keep your baby out to avoid them climbing on the chairs and falling on the hard concrete.
If you have small loose stones or gravel as your flooring, it is definitely important to keep your baby out.
Your baby will most likely put the small stones in their mouth, putting them at a risk for choking.
Fence off your patio to restrict access for your little curious being.
If you have a deck instead and would still like to keep your baby away from it, keep the entrance to the deck locked.
Do you want to spend time with your little one on the deck but would like to prevent them from going into the backyard?
Again, use fencing.
If you have small bars on your deck use a mesh guard to prevent your baby from squeezing through the bars and getting into dangerous spaces.
Buy It Here: Cardinal Gates Heavy-Duty Outdoor Deck Netting
If you have an open deck instead, use this extended safety gate suitable for securing a larger area.
Fencing is even more important if you have a deck raised above floor level to prevent nasty falls and injuries. The same goes for balconies as they are usually on a higher floor level.
Create A Safe Outdoor Play Area Outside The House
You need to create a safe play area for your baby in your backyard.
Even if you completely you babyproof your backyard, your baby still needs a dedicated space to play safely.
This does not have to be a complicated task.
Choose an area with preferably flat surface with less hazards closeby and enclose it with a fence.
Provide soft surfaces for easier landing.
The backyard ground is safer for your baby if it is covered in grass (even fake grass) or foam padding.
If your little one had to fall, they are better landing on a softer surface instead of a hard one.
Falling on a grass will result in less scratches and serious injuries compared to falling on brick or concrete paving.
Check for any hazards or insects before your baby plays inside..
The play must be:
- Away from the sun. You can erect a shade if the perfect spot is in the sun.
- Not where people pass frequently.
- Away from backyard hazards e.g. the pool, the barbecue, poisonous plants,etc.
Never leave toys out in the hot sun as these can cause burns once your baby touches the hot toys.
Babyproof Your Garden
If you have one in your backyard, you need to learn how to make your garden safe for your baby.
Avoid planting toxic plants in your garden if your baby will be frequenting the garden.
In cases where it is not possible to avoid these plants (e.g. you already have them in your garden), use this mesh wire fencing to babyproof your garden and keep your little one from poisonous plants.
What common garden plants are poisonous?
Examples are Lily of the valley, Iris, Foxglove, Daffodil, and Oleander. You can find a comprehensive list of poisonous plants here.
Mushrooms can also be poisonous.
Do not let your baby pick mushrooms that have independently grown inside your yard.
It is also wise to avoid plants with thorns that can prick your little one.
Keep away fertilizers and other poisonous chemicals. Your baby should stay away from the garden if you have sprayed your plants with pest control chemicals.
Lock away rakes and garden forks and spades.
Maintain your garden in a clean state. Remove weeds and regularly cut your grass. Get rid of waste and avoid clutter.
By doing this, snakes and others venomous creatures are less likely to make your backyard their home.
If you will be gardening with your baby, take precautions.
Keep their shoes on at all times and have them wear gloves to avoid insect bites.
Do you want to do gardening with your baby?
Get a set of age-appropriate toys your baby will play with so they will be less tempted to use your heavy and dangerous gardening tools.
Protect Your Baby From Bugs and Mosquitos
Avoid being outside in the early hours of the evening.
This is the time when most bugs and the mozzies are active.
Use a mosquito net or screen if you and your baby will be sitting on the deck until late.
Empty out any water that collects in outdoor spaces like the garbage bin, plant pots, puddles, etc. leaving this water stagnant for a few days invites mosquitos into your backyard.
Always have an insect repellent spray at hand (suitable for your baby’s age).
You will seriously regret not having one when your baby is uncomfortably itching and covered with raised bumps from insect bites.
Keep your baby safe from the hot sun rays.
Although it is common to prioritize baby sun safety during summer, it is equally important to take precautions even in winter.
- Wear sunscreen that is safe enough for a baby
- Avoid being in the sun when the sun is most active (between 10 am – 4 pm)
- Do not let your baby sit under direct sunlight, use a shade
- Use an umbrella if taking a walk in the yard
- Have your baby wear a hat
- Provide water or milk for hydration
Excessive sun exposure can have detrimental effects on your baby’s health when they are all grown up. It is best to be safe now rather than sorry later.
Always Check Where Your Baby Is Before Driving Out Of The Garage
There have been a number of reported fatalities where a parent unknowingly drove over a child while reversing from the garage.
This is deeply sad and unfortunate.
Always establish your baby’s whereabouts before driving off. Babies do have a weird tendency of standing behind cars.
Supervision Is Key
Supervising your baby is the best way to babyproofing your surroundings to keep your baby safe.
No matter how much your baby is growing and becoming more independent, supervision is always crucial.
Always being close means you will be able to see when your little one gets into dangerous situations and be able to stop them in time.
Keep in mind that supervising your baby is important regardless of how extensively you babyproof your backyard.
Why It Is Important Babyproof Your Backyard
Making your backyard safer for your baby should be a priority just as babyproofing your home is.
At some point, your baby will leave the house to spend time outside, you honestly do not want this to result in unwanted injuries that could have been avoided.
Realistically, it is not possible to remove every hazard posing danger to your baby, the idea is to keep your baby as safe as possible.
Once you are done babyproofing your home, use this guide to babyproof your backyard and have peace of mind knowing your baby will be safe both indoors and outdoors.