Gardening is a relatively safe and educational activity that kids enjoy, but there are some potential dangers. Identify the safety concerns and take steps to prevent an injury or accident for your junior gardener.
One of the most common dangers of gardening is being out in the sun. Your child can get a sunburn or suffer more severe heat-related injuries, such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Since gardens are typically in full sun, you’ll need to take steps to protect your child. These steps include:
- Wear sunscreen.
- Wear a hat and clothes to cover the skin.
- Drink lots of water.
- Work in short spurts, taking breaks indoors or in the shade when you get hot.
Gardening doesn’t take a lot of tools, but your child will use a few items during the course of regular gardening. Spades, shovels, hoes and rakes can get sharp and potentially dangerous. Remind your child not to touch the metal edges. Show her how to use the tools properly to avoid injury. Discourage her from swinging the tools around or trying to use tools that are too large for her.
Fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals that are sometimes used in gardens are very dangerous for children. Never let your child apply the chemicals. If possible, avoid using chemicals completely in favor of more natural options. For example, use compost instead of loading up on fertilizer. Or pull weeds by hand instead of using herbicides.
If you do use chemicals in the garden, apply them when your child is not around. Even a slight breeze can cause the chemicals to disperse to other areas of the yard. Keep her out of the garden for a few days after applying the chemicals so she doesn’t come into contact with them.
Some plants are toxic and present a danger to your child. Teach your child never to put any part of a plant in her mouth unless she asks you first. Avoid potentially toxic plants, such as azaleas, nightshade, oleander and peace lilies.
When your child is all done with gardening for the day, have her head inside and wash up. Washing gets rid of all of the dirt, plant debris and other potentially dangerous junk that can get on her hands.