With the school holidays with us and, give or take the odd downpour and thunderstorm, the heatwave still very much on, for many of us it is great to take advantage of our own garden space and let our children enjoy being outdoors. Playing outside not only means your children are getting plenty of exercise and fresh air, but the sunlight is also providing them with vitamin D, essential to healthy growing bones.
However, before letting them free in your home environment without a worry, it’s important to follow a few simple and sensible rules in order to ensure safe and happy play.
Never leave very young children outside alone. Even if your outdoor area is fenced off and there is no escape route, that doesn’t stop a determined person coming in. Watching from an inside window is a suitable alternative if your child is older, but as distractions can occur, it is important to keep spending time with your child outside, so they feel confident and secure.
When children play with toys, especially with footballs or similar, there is always the risk of them going onto the street or into neighbouring properties. Educate them in not going to retrieve them themselves without an adult. Children have a limited sense of danger and accidents can occur when they simply run into the road without thought.
Make sure that all outdoor sheds that can contain dangerous items such as tools and garden equipment are kept locked. Children are inquisitive by nature may go inside outbuildings looking for toys and other items to amuse them.
Similarly, make sure any garden equipment is kept out of the way outside. If you are using garden tools at the same time as your child is playing, keep them close to you at all times and if they are not in your hand, lay them so that if anybody falls onto them, no serious damage can occur.