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How to Ensure Children Are Safe in the Garden
By Sally Writes


There are a number of basic rules that landscape professionals can inform customers about before those customers let children take an active role in their gardens.

Accordingly to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 600,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year for injuries relating to a variety of garden and lawn tools. Every year about 75 people are killed and 20,000 injured by lawnmowers and garden tractors alone. Of these deaths, 1 out of every 5 involves a child under the age of 12.

Children often want to join in and help with the garden work and, although it can be very beneficial to them, it is of vital importance that parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles enforce general safety rules. As landscape professionals, you are in a good position to remind customers of these rules, and to abide by the relative ones yourselves when at a customer's site.

Teach proper tool use and remember supervision is key
It is often too easy to assume that older children know how to use basic garden tools. In reality, those without any first-hand experience may not know at all, which can lead to serious injury. It is of utmost importance to outline the basics, making sure to supervise younger children at all times. Work alongside them or, if need be, right next to them on another task. Don't ever allow young children to work without grown-up supervision.

Keep small children inside while mowing the lawn
Children are intrigued by mowers, especially the ride-on variety, making it hard to keep them inside while an adult mows the lawn. The risk of being injured by flying debris and the mower blades is simply too big to allow them to observe the proceedings from nearby. In addition, it is a good rule of thumb that children younger than 13 are too young to operate a mower. Although this rule can be flexible, depending on a child's abilities, it is imperative that they are well-informed regarding the various safety measures and know how to operate the implements properly.

Proper footwear is a must
When working in a garden, flip-flops are not an option. Both adults and children should wear shoes that cover the entire foot and lace securely while working. There are countless obstacles in the garden such as sharp rocks that can cause injury when stepped on while some of your garden's smaller inhabitants like bees, scorpions, spiders and even snakes can pose problems of their own. Make it a rule that no one is allowed to work in the garden without suitable footwear.

Keep chemicals away from children
Chemicals pose a great danger to children when ingested or coming into contact with their skin or eyes. Luckily, more and more people are opting for organic and environmentally-friendly garden solutions. While these 'green' products are significantly less harmful, it is still important to remain vigilant and keep them out of reach of children.

Children are curious by nature and are prone to push their own limits while testing the boundaries as far as working in the garden is concerned. By following the simple safety measures mentioned above, accidents and unwanted trips to the ER can be avoided with ease and your customers can continue to spend quality time with their family in their gardens.

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October 16, 2019, 12:49 am PDT

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