If you, your children, or your pets spend a lot of time outside, it’s important to be aware of hidden dangers that may threaten your health and the health of those you love. While adults are pretty good judges about what to do and what not to do, the same can’t be said for small children and pets— and there may even be some things in your yard hazardous to adults. Here’s what to look out for to ensure that your backyard is safe.
Avoid Standing Water
If you have pots, buckets, or anything else outside of your home that can collect water, make sure you’re not letting it stand idle for too long. Standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria, insects, and even rats. This becomes very dangerous when you have young children who like to play in water and/or thirsty pets looking for a drink. If you collect fresh rainwater for your garden or other ecological reasons, make sure to use the water as soon as possible.
Be Aware of Dangerous Insects
Regularly inspect your yard for bee and wasp nests. You should be more concerned about the wasps, rather than the bees, since bees aren’t typically aggressive unless provoked. Wasps, on the other hand, are particularly aggressive with and without being provoked. To keep wasps away, make sure that you don’t leave any uncovered food, drinks, or trash cans in your yard, and you can also burn citronella or mint candles to deter wasps from your yard.
Don’t Stay Outside Too Long or Go Without Sunscreen
Whether you’re playing with your kids, lounging by the pool, or working in your garden, it’s important to make sure that you don’t stay outside too long. While being out in the sun is beneficial to your health, too much sun is detrimental. The hottest part of the day depends on where you live and what season you’re in, but it’s typically around noon when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. Try going outside earlier in the day or later in the day when it’s cooler.
Also remember to wear sunscreen whenever you’re going to be spending a significant amount of time outdoors— even in the colder months and on cloudy days. The sun’s ultraviolet rays still reach the earth through clouds and in the cold, so make sure to wear your sunscreen.
Keep Your Garden and Lawn Tools Locked Away
If you’re a gardening expert and have a variety of professional gardening tools, make sure to keep them locked away— especially if you have children or pets. These tools can be sharp and become dangerous items in the hands of those who aren’t careful or skilled enough to use them.
Know Which Plants Are Toxic to Your Pets
Whether you have a flower garden or wild flowers growing in your yard, it’s important to know which plant species are toxic if ingested by your pet. One of the most well-known is lilies and their toxicity to cats. Other plants/flowers that are toxic to pets include:
- Castor Bean
There are also a variety of plants and flowers that are toxic to children as well as pets:
If you do have any of these plants, make sure that your children and/or pets can’t access them, or just get rid of them altogether.
Throw Out the Toxic Chemicals
Certain pesticides that you may use in your garden can not only harm the environment, but they also pose a threat to anyone that comes in contact with these chemicals— including your pets. Children are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of pesticides, and they can cause some level of damage to any living thing that comes in contact with it, breathes it in, or ingests it. To be on the safe side, try some natural pesticides, such as:
- Cayenne pepper
- Chrysanthemum flower tea (though this is toxic to pets)
- Garlic and onions
- Nettle oil
- Planting strong scented herbs, such as eucalyptus and mint
Even if you don’t have a garden, some of the herbicides that you use on your lawn to kill weeds can be harmful too. In fact, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers state that the herbicide Paraquat is extremely toxic. Instead of using herbicides to kill weeds, try steaming them or spraying vinegar on them.
Overall, ensure that your children and pets are properly supervised when they’re outdoors. This is especially important if you have a pool, a grill, or other everyday backyard items that can become dangerous in an instant.