As summer comes to a close and autumn leaves fall into place, you may be thinking that it’s time to pack up the backyard toys, slide dust covers on your furniture, and transition to an indoor lifestyle. I’m here to tell you that this couldn’t be further from the truth! Even though the sun may be saying goodbye a little earlier, hiking trails and other outdoor spaces are always open—and this includes your own backyard!
Enjoying your backyard is one of the simple pleasures in life. After a stressful or overwhelming day, there’s nothing like sitting on the back porch with a mug of tea, taking a deep breath, and reminding yourself to slow down and enjoy life. No doubt your kids love playing outside as well! Despite the colder weather, your backyard can and should continue to be a haven for both you and your children.
However, no space is completely safe from danger, and your yard is no exception. To help you bring your backyard to life in the safest way possible, here is Troomi’s list of six disturbing health dangers lurking in your backyard that you should be aware of.
1. Stray tree limbs and roots
It’s no secret that trees bring a peaceful ambience to your yard. They also help prevent strangers from peering into your space, so having a plethora of trees is a magnificent way to give your yard some privacy.
Between keeping them watered and trimmed though, trees take up a lot of time and energy. If you forget to remove stray tree limbs or note thick tree roots, it could spell danger for you and your children.
Remember to check on your trees regularly, to ensure that there’s no rotting or decay. If there are any broken or dead limbs, cut them off! You don’t want to risk them falling and hitting a wandering bystander.
2. Standing water
There are few things kids love more than putting on their rainboots and jumping in puddles but standing water also poses a few hidden risks. It’s a fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes, and kids can easily lose their balance and slip when running through wet grass. Standing water can also lead to problems with your foundation if left unchecked for too long.
To remove the possibility of standing water, make sure to dethatch or aerate your lawn. This will remove thick compact barriers of dirt that traps water, resulting in better drainage. If your yard is at the bottom of a hill or regularly accumulates water, you may need to dig an irrigation trench to divert the water to a better exit point.
Standing water isn’t the only potential landscaping danger. Holes can be found anywhere in your yard and are often the culprit behind injuries like breaks and sprains. When I was growing up, we had a hole in our front lawn that went unfilled for months, and I can’t count how many of my friends tripped in it and skinned their knees when playing tag.
Make sure to check for newly-formed holes regularly, filling them with soil or dirt when you find them. To ensure that new holes don’t form, keep your grass mowed and watch for holes being formed by animals like moles. If you think these critters are wandering about your yard, talk to a professional about removing them safely and humanely.
4. Stray garden tools
While your kids may complain about helping out with yard work, we know how fulfilling it can be to have a nicely landscaped backyard. When you’re done working, however, make sure to safely put away any garden tools such as rakes, shovels, and garden shears. Your child could easily step on a stray tool or start playing with it without knowing how to properly handle it. The best way to avoid a trip to the emergency room is to clean up after yourself!
5. Ticks, spiders, and other bugs
Moles and groundhogs aren’t the only critters that may be hiding in your backyard. Bugs like ticks and spiders have no concept of personal space and may easily bite you or your children. Your family pets certainly aren’t safe either! As such, make sure to regularly use insect repellent. In more serious cases, a professional exterminator can help ensure that infestations are gone for good.
If you think you were bitten by a tick, locate the bite site. If the tick is still there, remove it as soon as possible. Refrain from using your fingers; instead, use tweezers or tick-removing tools. Most tick bites are more annoying than harmful, but if you develop a bullseye rash or feel any flu-like symptoms, you may need to go visit your doctor.
6. Poison oak and other harmful plants
When out weeding and pruning your bushes, make sure to keep an eye out for plants like poison oak and poison ivy. If you do see some, put on your long sleeves and some gloves, and get to work removing it! Itchy plants like these aren’t the only issues, however. Berries like those found on belladonna and holly plants may look appetizing but are dangerous if consumed.
Make sure to educate your kids on the dangers of plants like this. Have a family meeting and go over what dangerous plants look like. Talk about how to avoid them, and what to do if they make contact with your skin. After all, there’s no such thing as being too prepared!
Don’t forget to have fun!
As you spend time outside and remember how to enjoy your backyard, it’s important to be safe and aware of what dangers may be present.
At Troomi, it’s our goal to help your kids stay safe both indoors and out with our kid friendly smartphones. Not only do they protect your child from the negative effects of social media and addicting games, but Troomi automatically places your child’s phone number on a safelist, ensuring that their information remains secure. Additionally, Troomi phones feature KidSmart™ apps that encourage kids to get familiar with the outside world. Check out our website for more info!
Most of all though, it’s important to have fun! So what are you waiting for? Get your kids out there and have fun in your backyard!