KGZ - safety in the garden

Working in the garden can be a wonderful way to spend time with your kids and teach them about nature, but it’s important to take precautions when children are involved. Here are 10 ways you can help keep your children safe while they work in the garden so they can enjoy the great outdoors without worry.

Tool Safety

Before allowing your child to get his or her hands dirty, you should make sure that he or she is familiar with all tools used. Whether it’s a shovel, mower, rake, or sprayer; kids should be taught how to use and care for any tool used. It also helps if they have an understanding of what not to do, i.e., pointing digging tools at people or animals, poking holes in things (including fruit), etc. Being aware of and abiding by safety rules when using these types of objects will help keep everyone safe.

Use Protection

Protect your child’s eyes, ears, hands and feet by properly wearing appropriate gear. Visors, goggles and rubber gloves are a must when using sharp gardening tools, while sturdy boots protect your little one from sharp objects on the ground. Also consider investing in earplugs to limit exposure to mower noise, which could damage delicate eardrums if too loud.

Supervise at All Times 

Supervising kids at all times is an essential part of keeping them safe. Whenever your child is working in or near a garden, make sure you’re on hand to keep an eye on what they’re doing. If you can’t be right there, put up a fence or barrier to block access and use tools that have safety features like trigger locks and lock-off switches.

Use Protective Clothing

Children should wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants when gardening. Loose clothing not only protects against scrapes but also keeps your little one’s skin protected from harmful UV rays. It’s best to avoid exposing children to direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when they are most likely to get burnt while out working on a hot summer day.

Use Eye Protection

Most of us have heard that you should wear sunscreen when you’re working outside. Did you know, though, that sunglasses aren’t just for fashion? The sunlight reflects off surfaces like concrete and asphalt, and can cause sun damage to your eyes if they aren’t protected. Even a minor eye injury can lead to some serious health problems down the road (cataracts! macular degeneration!). Make sure all kids wear sunglasses when they are outdoors for extended periods of time.

Check for Toxicity

Children’s skin is much more sensitive than adult skin, and they are more likely to be allergic to or irritated by garden plants. Be sure to check that all of your flowers, bushes, and trees are non-toxic before growing them near your kids. It’s also important to keep small children away from chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides—you may want to use a natural or organic brand of these products until your kids are old enough not to mess with them.

Follow Directions Carefully

Often, kids are eager to help out around the house—especially when it involves getting their hands dirty. However, many gardening jobs aren’t suitable for children to do on their own, so make sure you keep an eye on them and offer assistance when necessary. Before your kids help out with any projects, be sure they understand all of your safety directions carefully. Be a role model and follow all instructions yourself, too!

Avoid Water Hazards

Water isn’t just a risk when swimming; kids can also get into trouble in puddles or fountains. To keep your little gardeners safe, it’s a good idea to have them wear waterproof clothing and shoes. You should also consider keeping them near you at all times—just to be safe. In fact, safety is one of our main rules of gardening: Always be aware of where your children are and what they’re doing.

Keep Plants Away From Play Areas

An all-too-common scenario involves children unknowingly playing with garden plants, but bringing them inside and eating them. Protect your child by keeping them away from play areas where plants are being grown. In addition, inspect any produce you bring into your home carefully before allowing children to eat it; remove leaves, seeds or stems and discard anything that looks unusual.

Educate Children Early

The most important way to keep your children safe while gardening is to educate them early. Teach them how to identify plants that are poisonous, and make sure they know not to eat anything unless you’ve checked it out first. Younger children will need closer supervision than older ones, so stick close by when they’re working in your garden or around unknown plants. You can also install fences and other safety measures at home to prevent injury from happening.

A garden is a haven for children, and some of their favorite childhood memories may be connected to their garden. You can ensure your child’s safety while they work in your garden by implementing these tips. If you have any additional tips that we didn’t include, please let us know!