BEWARE OF THESE BACKYARD DANGERS By: Holly Brenza, Submitted by Kathy O’Neill RN, Parish Nurse
The days are growing longer, the sun is warmer and school is out. Summer is here. With more time being spent outdoors comes additional dangers for adults and children alike.
Alix McNulty, manager of community outreach and population health at Advocate Children’s Hospital, offers the following tips for better backyard safety.
- Be careful around pools: No child should be left unattended near any body of water, even small kiddie pools. Children can drown in just a couple of inches of water.
- Plants have the potential for danger: The National Capital Poison Center cautions against certain plants as they can be toxic. Lily of the Valley, for example, with those pretty white tiny flowers. Kids are naturally drawn to them.
- Know your playground equipment.
- Make sure swing sets are secured properly to avoid tipping as children begin to climb on them. It is recommended to have a six-foot safety zone around the perimeter away from fences, trees, sheds, etc.
- Children should be closely monitored while playing.
- Avoid walking in front of or behind children on swings.
- Do not twist ropes or chains of swings, as it decreases the strength and integrity of the rope/chain.
- Children should go down slides feet first and sitting down to minimize the chance of falls. When children try to run up a slide, they increase their chance of slipping and falling.
- Be mindful of climbing ropes, ladders and bridges on swing sets as these can be unsteady surfaces with a higher risk of falls.
- Practice sun safety: Wear sunscreen and reapply frequently, especially after playing in water.
- Be safe with sprinklers: They’re fun to run through and a great way to cool off, but sprinklers can cause slippery surfaces on grass or pavement.
- Keep a first aid kit near the door to the back yard: “Boo boos” and bee stings happen, and you need to be ready to take action, especially for children who have allergies to things like bees. Keep an epipen handy and close by during outside play.
- Insects, hives, ant hills, oh my! Some of these insects bite. Although they’re not poisonous, their bite still hurts.
Warn children about aggravating bee hives or poking ant hills.
- Fire safety is a must: People are breaking out the grills, smokers and fire pits. Don’t let kids run or play around open flames, grills, fire pits, etc. And remember – none of these cool down immediately after use.
- Those fertilizers are dangerous: Fertilizers make for beautiful weed-free flower and veggies beds, but when ingested, they can cause serious health problems. Make sure to keep all yard chemicals up and out of reach of children. Whether a child (or pet) ingests them or is exposed on their skin, these products can cause issues.