Once you’ve brought your baby home, it will feel like 5 minutes before they are crawling around, wanting to explore their surroundings and play in the garden. Whether you have a tiny courtyard, a shared strata space, or a large sprawling garden, there are a few things you need to do first to make your garden a safe, enjoyable and inspiring place for your child.
Secure the Perimeter
Firstly, take a walk around the perimeter of your garden or outside area. Check that fences are secure, there are no holes, gaps, or missing panels and that all gates close securely and cannot be easily opened by tiny hands. While you take a walk around, check your garden for any unsafe brickwork and dead, or dying trees which could be a safety hazard. Remove any trees or bushes that may break or fall easily when little hands try to swing or climb.
As children grow, they will explore and push boundaries, so any gaps or ways out of the garden will be tried and tested. A good tip is to get down to your toddler’s eye level; you are guaranteed to see a whole new world of possible escape routes!
Sheds and Garages
Any tired old flimsy sheds and outhouses need to be pulled down. There are local rubbish removal businesses which can assist you in pulling down sheds, outbuildings and awnings then take the materials offsite with them when they leave.
Garden chemicals and paint cans can be a real health hazard for young children. Dispose of old chemicals and paint cans, securing the rest in lockable storage units. The same should happen for all gardening and electrical equipment. If you haven’t used your hedge trimmer for a while, then sell it, or arrange for a garden rubbish collection.
Get Pool Safe
Pool and pond deaths are a tragedy, avoid becoming part of a devastating statistic by ensuring your pools and ponds are fully child proof. A good idea is to check local government websites for tips on how to make your pool area child safe. There are also pool fencing requirements and laws to adhere to, so check that you are compliant. Never leave your children unattended, even for a minute where there are buckets, pools and ponds of water in the vicinity.
Surfaces, Pathways, and Decking.
Check all paths and decking which surround your home and garden. Remove any nails which may be sticking up, or any splinters and split wood which could cause a nasty injury. When it comes to pathways check for uneven slabs and bricks on which could cause your child to stumble and fall.
Where possible create some shaded areas for children to play safely and comfortably out of the hot Australian sun.
Once you have arranged your local rubbish collection and your home has a secure perimeter, think about some creative areas for your child to play and explore. A herb garden for smell and touch, a vegetable patch and a colourful flower bed all engage and stimulate the senses. Most of all, enjoy the time outside in the fresh air with your young child knowing you have created a child safe garden.