If your child develops a natural interest in gardening, it’s a great way to keep them occupied while you work in the garden and allows you to spend more quality time together. It gets kids outside and teaches them about nature.
Teaching Them the Basic Rules
Right from the off, it’s important to teach kids the basic rules about what is potentially dangerous or harmful in the garden, especially when it comes to tools. You should clearly state what they can and cannot touch. You need to highlight the dangers of any heavy and sharp, pointed tools along with power driven tools such as hedge trimmers, strimmers, electric or petrol driven lawn mowers and absolutely forbid them to use any of these. Older children should also be warned about the dangers of power-driven tools and should only ever use them once you are certain that they have been trained to use them properly, are aware of the dangers and that they have taken all the proper safety precautions, including wearing any eye protection goggles, ear defenders, gloves and safety boots if the job requires it.
Young children by nature are inquisitive so you should always keep garden sheds locked. They can contain a variety of dangerous chemicals which younger children might not be familiar with.
Preparing Kids for Gardening
Most children enjoy getting dirty so you need to kit them out with suitable clothing and footwear for the job. If it’s a hot day, make sure that they wear sun hats and are protected from sunburn. Encourage them to drink water regularly to prevent dehydration and if it’s cold, ensure they are well wrapped up.
If you have a dog or a cat, make sure that you have cleaned up any mess your pet has made in the garden before children go in there. Soil can contain toxocariasis caused by a worm contained in dog faeces and this can cause epileptic fits, asthma and even blindness, if rubbed in the eyes. It’s also useful to check if your child’s tetanus vaccinations are up to date as soil can carry tetanus.
If you have a pond or some other kind of water feature in your garden, never let young children out of your sight. Teach them to stay away from water features and, if they’re too young to realise the danger, cordon off the area or cover the pond with a steel mesh. It only takes a few seconds to drown even in the shallowest of water so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Other Natural Dangers
Other dangers to watch out for are poisonous plants and plants which can burn or sting the skin, such as nettles and flowers and plants with thorns like roses and holly.
Gardening with your children can be fun and can provide both you and your kids with an experience that is both educational and productive at the same time. However, it’s important to be vigilant and to teach your children how to act responsibly when gardening and about the dangers that may be present.