How To Redesign Your Garden To Make It Safe For Your Children

How To Redesign Your Garden To Make It Safe For Your Children

Having a garden is fantastic, especially when you have children; however, unfortunately many gardens provide a huge number of hazards to children. It is therefore really important to make sure, upon ever redesigning your garden, to keep a number of crucial points in mind, such as:

Checking your garden is escape proof

Accidents do happen and as a parent you will make mistakes. Unfortunately no matter how hard you try it is impossible to keep an eye on children all the time. It is incredibly important your children do not find a way out of the garden when your back is turned. Therefore when you are installing hedges, fencing or gates for the first time, you need to make sure you haven’t left any gaps, all fastenings are secure and that little fingers cannot unlock or untie anything.

Checking your plant types

Unfortunately, many of the prettiest plants people want in their gardens, such as roses, holly and pampas grass often come with sharp leaves and/or thorns. These are obviously dangerous to young children, who don’t know any better than not to touch. However, this is no reason to not put these in your garden. If these plants are essential to your new garden redesign, you just need to be a bit more considerate about where you are planting them.

You will also need to double check the toxicity of your new plants before planting, to make sure they are not poisonous if a child happens to eat them. Aim to keep all of these kinds of plants at a higher level, far away from children’s eyes, faces and fingers. Or you can always section off an area of your garden using handrails, thereby making the plants inaccessible to your children.

Checking your tools are always safely stored away

One of the most important things to remember, when redesigning a garden with kids around, is to ensure everything is always put back in its proper place. Even if you only put something, like a garden fork or a hammer, down for a second in order to go and get a drink, it can be extremely dangerous. A child might easily pick something like this up off the floor and cause damage, to themselves or even to someone else.

Try to avoid using any tools with power leads, when your children are about. Not only might the cords prove to be a tripping hazard for your children but you may also find tools start and stop for no apparent reason…Upon investigation you will probably find a mischievous toddler is at fault and they are playing an ‘innocent’ plug and unplug game, however, it just isn’t worth the risk of something going wrong.

Checking the safety of your water features

Without a doubt water features are one of the most popular aspects to include when redesigning a garden, ranging from large pools and ponds to simple bird bath fountains. However, whilst they can be beautiful, they are also very dangerous to children, for obvious reasons. Try to keep this in mind when installing your water features and include whatever safety measures you can, whether this include cordoning off the feature itself, covering with netting, or just settling for features too small in size to be a threat to your children.

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Laura writes for Seagull Ballustrades. When not writing, she can be often be found trying to keep her children from destroying her garden.






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Did you know the Sago Palm is toxic to pets?

676138.jpg I just received a new edition of my ASPCA newsletter and one article in particular caught my eye. It was about the increased incidence of pets being poisoned by the Sago Palm. This plant can also be quite toxic to young children.

The Sago Palm is common in warm climates, but it’s become more popular in Northern homes as a houseplant. The plant is native to Southern Japan. It’s an attractive plant with dark green leaves and a hairy trunk.

Since 2003, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has seen an increase in cases of Sago palm and Cycad poisonings by more than 200 percent. APCC data also reveals that 50 percent to 75 percent of those cases resulted in fatalities.

sago-palm.jpg A chemical in the plant called cycasin is toxic and often causes permanent liver damage as well as neurological damage if enough of the poison is absorbed by the body. The seeds are the most poisonous part of the plant, although all parts of this plant are toxic, and the effects on humans are seizures, coma and death. Of course the seeds are an attractive reddish color so children and possible curious pets might be drawn to the plant.

Clinical signs of toxic poisoning are vomiting, melena (blood in stool), Jaundice, increased thirst, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, bruising and later liver damage, liver failure and death.

If you have young children or pets in your home and you’d like to check to see if your house or garden plants are toxic you can take a look at this list of Toxic Plants. There’s also a list of non-toxic plants that you might also want to look at if you are planning on adding more plants to your collection.

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