Five of the most common causes of childhood injuries — drowning, motor vehicles, falls, burns, and poison — can be found in the backyard during the summer. Inflatable pools, motorized lawn equipment, home playground equipment, sunlight, pesticides and even natural vegetation can be harmful to children; preventing injury caused by these hazards requires a few simple precautions.

Common safety guidelines that you apply to sports, public playgrounds, and swimming are also applicable in your own backyard. A child should wear the proper safety equipment when playing sports in the yard or riding his or her bicycle. A backyard pool should be surrounded by a secure fence or another type of barrier. A home playground should be anchored to a firm foundation just like public playground equipment is anchored.


Safe Kids Carroll County recommends taking these precautions to keep the family safe in the backyard:

  • Wading pools should be emptied after each use and stored upside down. A child should be supervised constantly by at least one responsible adult when he or she is in and around the water.
  • Be sure that home playground equipment is age-appropriate and surrounded six feet in all directions by at least 12 inches of shredded rubber, wood chips, sand, or any other shock-absorbing material. Grass and asphalt alone are not safe surfaces for playground equipment.
  • Treat a riding mower as you would any other motor vehicle; keep ignition keys out of reach, do not carry passengers that the vehicle is not designed to carry, and always look before putting the vehicle in to motion. Children should be kept in the house while a mower or any type of power equipment is in use.
  • Remove all potential poisons from your yard. This includes poisonous plants, pesticides, cleaning chemicals, and/or pool chemicals. Teach kids not to handle or eat any part of a plant unless they know that it is safe. The website can be used as a reference for a list of potential poisonous substances, including some plants that are found in and around the house.
  • Always make sure that children are away from the grill while cooking and while the grill is cooling.
  • Apply insect repellent, by following the manufacturer’s instructions, to a child’s clothing and exposed skin. (Consult a pediatrician if you have any questions about safety of the repellent or the instructions). To reduce amount of mosquitoes in the yard, do a weekly check of anything that may house standing water, and empty them. Also change the water of birdbaths and fountains weekly.
  • Teach children not to disturb or feed any wild animal, no matter how harmless the animal may seem at the time.
  • Apply sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher to your child’s exposed skin at least 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply frequently. The CDC recommends that you should reapply sunscreen after about two hours of being outdoors. It is possible to get sunburn in cloudy conditions, so make sure to wear sunscreen every day no matter the weather.
  • Always make sure that your child stays well-hydrated. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) an active child should drink 6-8 glasses of water each day to prevent dehydration.

Safe Kids Carroll County is a part of the Safe Kids Worldwide, the only nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury — the number one cause of death of children who are ages 14 and under. Safe Kids works with networks of more than 400 coalitions within the United States and have partners in more than thirty countries.

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