Your backyard can be a safe play area for your child if you eliminate potential hazards.

Here are some helpful tips to reduce potential risks:

  • If you don’t have a fenced yard, teach your child the boundaries within which she should play. Always have a responsible person supervise outdoor play.
  • Check your yard for dangerous plants. Among preschoolers, plants are a leading cause of poisoning. If you are unsure about any of the plants in your yard, call your local Poison Help Line (1–800–222–1222) and request a list of poisonous plants common to your area. If you have any poisonous plants, either replace them or securely fence and lock that area of the yard away from your child.
  • Teach your child never to pick and eat anything from a plant, no matter how good it looks, without your permission. This is particularly important if you let her help out in a vegetable garden where there’s produce that could be eaten.
  • If you use pesticides or herbicides on your lawn or garden, read the instructions carefully. Don’t allow children to play on a treated lawn for at least forty-eight hours.
  • Don’t use a power mower to cut the lawn when young children are around. The mower may throw sticks or stones with enough force to injure them. Never have your child on a riding mower even when you are driving. It is safest to keep young children indoors while the lawn is being mowed.
  • When you cook food outdoors, screen the grill so that your child cannot touch it, and explain that it is hot like the stove in the kitchen. Store propane grills so your child cannot reach the knobs. Be sure charcoal is cold before you dump it.
  • Never allow your child to play unattended near traffic, and do not allow her to cross the street by herself, even if it is just to go to a waiting school bus.

Source: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)