How to Make a Kid Safe Garden

Young kids and gardens are a potentially dangerous mix. Many garden plants are potentially toxic, even to adults, and of course common garden plants have their own defences, like thorns, bristles, and in some cases skin irritants. There are ways of providing protection for the kids, though, with good clothes (even good nappy covers help) and some precautions.

Garden safety basics for kids

Do not allow young kids to be alone an unsupervised in the garden. Generally speaking, “Look but don’t touch” is the best advice, but enforcing that with an adventurous child can be quite a task.  Keeping the kid under close observation, holding hands and generally steering them clear of hazards is the best option.

That said, the garden doesn’t have to be a no go zone. Quite the opposite, it’s an essential. Some flowers, like dandelions, are quite safe and can even be eaten provided nobody’s been spraying insecticides or herbicides in the area.

Dangerous plants

  • Asthma weed
  • Buttercups
  • Iris
  • Belladonna
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Daffodil
  • Foxglove
  • Hyacinth
  • Lilies
  • Morning glory
  • Oxalis
  • Pansy
  • Primrose
  • Sweet pea
  • Wisteria
  • Ferns
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cycads
  • Spurge
  • Wisteria
  • Poison ivy

Safe plants

  • Dandelions
  • Nasturtiums
  • Tomatoes
  • Geraniums and pelargoniums
  • Mesmebryanthemum
  • Rose
  • Most trees

Note: Fungi should be strictly off limits until the child is old enough to recognize the differences between the dangerous mushrooms and safe types.

Garden hazards

The risks for a young child include a lot of things which very common in gardens:

  • Ponds and pools: Very young kids are at serious risk from even small ponds. These hazards should be fenced off or filled in until the child is able to deal with them safely.
  • Fertilizers: These chemicals can be very distressing, cause vomiting and in some cases severe medical conditions.
  • Garden tools: Cuts and scratches from tools are capable of causing tetanus and septicemia.
  • Insecticides: All are dangerous and some are particularly deadly. All garden chemicals should be locked away and inaccessible to children.
  • Manure: Will cause infections if ingested or if wounds come into contact.
  • Un-cleared patches: These can be dangerous areas which can cause falls and impact injuries.

Clothing and protection

Toddlers and babies should have full cover using strong natural fibres like wool or cotton. This clothing provides sun and scratch protection. A hat should be worn in summer and eye protection if considered necessary.

Animals and insects

Insects

Wasps, spiders, scorpions, ants and bees are obvious threats. It’s advisable to check the garden thoroughly for any aggressive species. Bees are generally no danger unless there’s a hive in the vicinity.

Animals

Dogs

Dogs may be a potential problem, and prior to allowing a young child to enter an exposed area it’s a good idea to check and see if there are any dogs roaming around nearby.

Other animals

Cats are less serious potential threats, but are capable of inflicting injuries. They should be kept clear of a young child on principle unless they’re your own family pets.

Snakes are seasonal threats. Keep the garden play area clear, and check during the season for any intruders.

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Comments

  1. Great list of hazards, the dangers for kids out there is quite great. I guess that’s why they have us! The ones that scare me the most are chemicals and bodies of water. Love the blog!