Accidents don’t only happen inside the home, there are also potential hazards in the garden. Children under five, older people and those who are vulnerable are most likely to have an accident in the garden. By following simple advice and guidance you can help prevent these garden accidents from happening.
Falls are the most common accident for all age groups. Young children and older people are especially at risk.
Some tips to prevent falls:
- trampolining is not suitable for children under six years of age
- make sure all play equipment is placed on a soft surface, such as grass or a mat is secured so it cannot tip over or be moved in windy conditions
- if you have a trampoline make sure it has a safety net and padding around the springs
- trampolines should be used by only one child at a time with supervision from an adult
- it is important to remember to secure the safety net door closed when the trampoline is in use
- remove tripping hazards in the garden and repair broken or uneven pathways
- make sure paths and steps are free from moss as it can be slippery
- have handrails fitted outdoors if needed for extra support
- use appropriate lighting and be aware of weather conditions when leaving your home
- make sure you wear appropriate footwear outdoors
- avoid injury with ladders by checking their condition before use and setting them at a safe angle (75 degrees)
A small child can drown in as little as five centimetres of water. Remember drowning is silent. You will not necessarily hear any noise or struggle.
Some tips to prevent drowning:
- be aware of items that can fill with rain water such as buckets, plant pots and sand pit lids
- if empty and not being used store such containers away or upside down to stop them filling with rain water
- always make sure that garden ponds are securely covered or fenced off and children are supervised while playing in or near a paddling pool
- make sure hot tubs are covered when not in use
- make sure children are supervised when around an open hot tub
- children under five years old should not go into a hot tub due to temperatures, chemicals and drowning risks
Most cases of poisoning happen at home, with children under five years old having the highest risk of accidental poisoning. Toddlers especially like putting things in their mouth to see what they taste like. They will also find all sorts of ways to reach things, such as medications, that they think are sweets or drinks.
Some tips to prevent poisoning:
- store all poisonous substances, such as chemicals and cleaning materials for the garden, out of sight and reach of children and preferably in cupboards with child resistant locks
- keep chemicals in their original containers, do not transfer them to food or drinks containers
- always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using substances like weed killers and fertiliser
- remove poisonous trees, plants and berries from your garden
A child’s skin is up to 15 times thinner than an adult’s and will burn or scald much more easily. Your skin also becomes thinner with age.
Have barbecues or fire pits in an open, outdoor space away from fences, sheds, trees and bushes. Never leave children unsupervised near open flames. Remember that a barbecue or fire pit can stay hot for several hours after being lit. Take care when disposing of barbecues and coals and make sure they have cooled down before putting them in the bin.
Injury from gardening equipment
Take care to protect yourself and others, including children, from injuries from gardening equipment.
Some tips to prevent injuries from gardening equipment:
- keep children away from garden equipment and tools
- lock equipment and tools in a shed or other secure area
- use the personal protective equipment recommended for the task in the manufacturer’s instructions and tidy up equipment after use
- wear sturdy shoes and long trousers when mowing the lawn and eye protection when strimming
- protect yourself from electrocution when operating electrically powered garden equipment by using a safety device (Residual Current Device RCD) that switches off electricity automatically if there is a fault
Garden safety video
Videos highlighting how garden safety accidents can be prevented can be watched on Home accident prevention - garden safety on Vimeo
This includes videos available in the following translations: