Stay Safe – Avoiding Garden Accidents
Whether you use your garden as a place to relax and unwind or like being active outdoors, the garden is an enjoyable place to be. However, it can also be home to a series of hazards. Around 300,000 people each year in the UK attend their hospital’s Accident and Emergency department following an incident in the garden – over 85,000 of these sustained injuries whilst gardening.
There are many reasons why accidents occur in the garden – from the incorrect use of electrical equipment to injuries caused by trips or falls. The good news is that most accidents can be avoided with a little planning. Here are some common-sense tips:
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using gardening equipment
- Give yourself plenty of time to complete jobs – don’t rush
- If you don’t feel confident completing larger jobs – call in a professional
- Check your garden regularly for trip hazards and remove them
- Take extra care in winter when there may be icy patches
- Never use electrical equipment in wet weather
- Be aware that some common garden plants and flowers can be poisonous
Wearing the correct safety gear can prevent many common garden accidents. Always wear the correct clothing when tackling a job – particularly if you are using machinery such as lawnmowers, hedge-trimmers or chainsaws. The equipment you will need will depend on the job in hand but could include steel-toe capped boots, goggles, ear-defenders or heavy duty gardening gloves.
Keeping Children Safe in the Garden
It’s especially important to protect children from accidents in the garden. The garden is an exciting place to be and this can cause children to take risks or injure themselves. There’s no reason children can’t enjoy time in the garden – but it’s a good idea to take additional precautions and make sure children know about the potential hazards:
- Never leave very young children unattended in the garden
- Do not leave sharp tools or gardening equipment laying around
- Keep pesticides and other chemicals locked away
- Avoid using electrical equipment whilst children are playing in the garden
- If you have poisonous plants in the garden make sure children know not to touch them. If children are too young to understand, you may wish to consider removing the plant entirely
- Take extra care when children are playing in paddling pools
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using outdoor play equipment such as climbing frames or trampolines.
A big concern for many parents when it comes to garden safety is the risk of children drowning in ponds. Small ponds can be covered with wire mesh to prevent children falling in. With larger ponds you may wish to erect a fence around the pond to keep children away from the water. When building a new pond, consider the safety implications. Choose a position where the pond can be seen from the house, create a pond with sloping edges and grow plants on the deeper edges of a pond to prevent children from getting near the edge.
For more information about staying safe at home or in the garden, visit: www.rospa.com
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