Did you know that about 50% of injuries to young people in Australia happen at home? While childproofing your house is an obvious step for most parents, many forget that their backyards can also be filled with hazards. If you've got young children or a baby on the way, take a look at these three hidden garden dangers and how to avoid them.
While many rumours about cats being a risk to children are false, there's one that's true -- toxoplasmosis. Spread via a parasite, toxoplasmosis is caused primarily by household cats. While the infection is harmless for most people, it can be life-threatening for those with weak immune systems. Even if you don't have a cat of your own, your child could still become infected in your own backyard. If your little one has an outdoor sandpit, you may have already noticed that the local neighbourhood cats have taken an interest in using it as a litter box. Toxoplasmosis can survive in sand for an entire year, so ensure your sandbox remains covered when not in use.
Plants may not seem dangerous at face value; for most adults, they pose no threat. However, many common backyard plants can harbour hidden dangers that curious kids are susceptible to. Approximately 50% of Australian gardens contain toxic plants -- trumpet lilies, toadstools, azaleas and poinsettias can all poison children. If you have any poisonous, thorned, or skin-irritating plants, your best bet is to uproot them and dispose of them. If you're unable to remove them, fence them off and ensure your children steer clear at all times.
It is a legal requirement under most circumstances to have pool fencing. However, 50% of drowning fatalities of children under five in Australia still occur in home swimming pools. Also, there ten times as many incidents of children requiring hospitalisation for non-fatal drownings as there are total drowning fatalities in children under five. Even if you've had fencing installed, it may be time to upgrade now you have kids. Fences should be strong and sturdy. Loose or missing panels, wide gaps and rusting screws indicate that your fence needs to be replaced. Similarly, your gate should be able to withstand strong pulling without opening, and should latch automatically. Ensure your latch is more than one-and-a-half meters from the ground to prevent your child from reaching it. The Australian Royal Life Saving Society recommends that children under five should be supervised by an adult at all times while swimming -- it only takes a moment for serious damage to occur.Share