factsheet: in the garden
The best way to keep your baby and toddler safe in the garden is to stay with them at all times. There is something about dangerous objects or situations which attracts young children like a magnet.The most basic safety check you need to do is to make sure your garden is secure. That means that your baby can’t get out and no one else can get in without you knowing about it. Check that the gates fasten properly, that the locks aren’t low enough for your baby to open and that there are no holes in the fence or boundary. Remember that toddlers love to climb and they will quickly learn to use toys, garden chairs, plant pots etc as steps and get over low boundaries that way.
If you don’t already know, find out exactly what plants, shrubs and trees are growing in your garden and remove or secure any which are poisonous. Babies will eat flowers, berries, bulbs or anything else that catches their eye, so be warned. Protect your child from plants with spikes or prickles – falling head first into something like this will be very painful!
soil and sand
The soil in flowerbeds is another favourite – toddlers will dig, either with their fingers or something else, and it will get into their mouths at some point. Don’t let your baby play in the soil and always wash their hands and face thoroughly if they do. Take extra care if you or your neighbours have cats. They will probably be using your soil as a toilet and you don’t want your baby digging about in that and then sucking his fingers. The best thing to do is either grass over any beds you can or fence them off to keep your child away. Cover sandpits when you’re not using them for the same reason.
If you have a pond or water feature, remove it or fence it off so your baby cannot possibly get to it. Babies and young children can drown in just a couple of centimetres of water. Put a secure lid on the water-butt in case they manage to climb up to it.
If your neighbours have ponds make sure they know you have children and ask them to check their side of any fence or boundary for any gaps you may have missed which your child could get through.
tools, chemicals etc
Always keep all garden tools, DIY or gardening products and chemicals of any kind locked away in the shed or garage. Make sure it locks with a key which you can remove – children will quickly learn to climb and open latches.
Be aware that stacks of logs, paving slabs etc are great attractions for babies to climb on and very dangerous if they collapse. Fence the area off or keep these things in a locked shed.
Always protect your baby from the sun whenever they are outside.
Babies are very sensitive to the sun and will burn easily. Put a total block sunscreen on your baby whenever they go out in the sun. Don’t be fooled just because it isn’t scorching hot outside – babies can burn when they’re in the shade and on cloudy days too. To protect them from sunstroke you should make sure that they wear hat too.