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Providing Safe Outdoor Play Options at Home

Mon, 08/31/2020 - 4:49pm
Last updated
2 weeks ago
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Providing Safe Outdoor Play Options at Home

For many of us, our fondest memories are those we made while playing outside on a warm, sunny day in our backyard. As kids, the space around our homes was as familiar as it was brimming with new possibilities for adventure. However, as we also know, kids are often naive about the hidden dangers of the great outdoors.

Our job as parents is to provide a safe place where our children can grow up making the same kind of memories we once did. This includes taking the right precautions with our yards and surrounding areas. Moreover, we all know that exercise and play are essential to a child’s overall health and wellbeing, meaning it’s important to not only talk to our children about their health at every age but remind them of the necessary safety precautions and rules set in place. Safe outdoor playtime often begins with the right discussion. 

In addition to this, there are other safeguards worth utilizing to ensure the overall safety (and fun) of your children’s next adventure. 

Keep Mother Nature in Check

One particular feature that likely stands out amongst your childhood memories is the many trees you used as backdrops for imaginative adventures. Tire swings, treehouses, hide-and-seek, and plenty of other fun outdoor games often rely on the use of trees. Moreover, trees can provide shade and privacy making their shadows a great place to have a picnic or lay down and cloud watch on a hot summer’s day.    

These days, you might look out into your own yard and wish you had more trees and other shrubberies throughout your property. From tall pine trees to big, boosting cedar ones, adding in more trees will increase the overall appeal and privacy of your property while also giving your kids the chance to make those distinct childhood memories as you did.

Of course, if you’ve already got the ideal landscape, that’s great. The best thing you can do in that case is to keep up with important maintenance. As wonderful as trees are to have, they can also be really dangerous if they begin rotting or splitting. Especially after major storms, it’s important to inspect yourself or have a professional come inspect your trees for damage. It’s also extremely important to regularly trim your trees to prevent them from clashing with any nearby utility poles. It goes without saying why that can lead to an extremely dangerous situation so it’s worth investing in proper maintenance throughout the years.   

Make Sure New Additions are Safe

For many of us, we have many fond memories of climbing all over our school’s jungle gym or inviting friends over to enjoy your backyard swing set. While this kind of playground equipment is absolutely not necessary to have fun, imaginative adventures, it is a worthwhile investment to treat your kids to.   

If you’ve been thinking about adding a playground set to your yard, there are some safety factors to keep in mind:

  • Solid Beam Construction: Backyard playgrounds can be built from a variety of different materials. Some use wood beams that are glued together from different cuts, which can lead to damage such as warping and buckling. Because of this, it’s better to stick with solid-beam constructed sets that utilize wood like cedar.
  • “Ouch-less” Safety Features: Some playground sets made today have pretty innovative safety features that can help minimize injuries such as pinched fingers and splinters. Look for sets that include features such as handrails, swing chains, and snag-free and recessed hardware-bolts, to name a few.
  • Safe Playground Space: The area you put your new playground set should be carefully inspected beforehand. Ensure you have level, solid ground and the surrounding area is clear of any electrical wires, overhanging branches, or other potential hazards. It’s also necessary to make sure all swings and slides have enough clearance.

Your kids are sure to get a ton of use out of their new playground set, so taking the extra time and precautions to make their adventures as safe as possible is definitely worth it. And who knows? You might even get an itch to join them for a few rounds down the slide making it fun for the whole family. 

Your kids are going to make so many wonderful memories with you and their home, just like you did. To keep the fun times rolling though it’s important to always be on the lookout for hidden dangers and ways you can improve outdoor safety. Fewer trips to the doctor for an injury means more time spent as salty pirates of the vast sea or magical fairies preparing for a great feast.

Noah Rue is a journalist and a digital nomad, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn't searching out the latest developments in mental...