child home safety, child-proofing, and accidental injury prevention in the yard and near pools: backyard with fenced in swimming pool
Photo: Courtesy of Home Safety Council
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Yard and Playground

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 200,000 children visit hospital emergency rooms every year because of yard and playground injuries. Aside from encouraging the use of helmets when riding bikes or skating, here are a few ways you can lower the risk of outdoor accidents.

Store buckets and containers upside down so they don't accumulate rainwater. Even just a couple of inches of water presents a drowning hazard.

• The Home Safety Council reports that the only measure scientifically proven to reduce pool drowning is proper fencing. Pool fences must completely surround the pool and include a gate that closes and locks automatically. Sturdy, locking pool covers are recommended as another line of defense. Pool alarms will alert you when the pool area is accessed without your knowledge. Some alarm systems feature motion sensors along the perimeter of the pool itself.

• Add soft-surfacing to playgrounds and play areas (at least 12 inches of wood chips or mulch, or rubber mats) to soften the blow of accidental falls from monkey bars or swings. Swings are also most likely to cause injury, so make sure seats are soft and that they are set 24 inches apart with no more than two per supporting framework. Anchor play sets and set them on a level surface to reduce the risk of tipovers. See The NSC's Top 10 Checklist for Playground Safety for more information.

Remove toxic plants from your landscape; check plant names through the United States Department of Agriculture's Plants Database before introducing them to your garden.

The key to prevention is awareness. If you have another tip or idea, share it in the comment section below.
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