Tips For Creating A Safe Backyard Play Area For Kids

Kids love the outdoors, and it’s healthy for them to play outside. In a world where new generations are choosing the internet over playdates more and more, promoting outdoor play is necessary.

Kids love the outdoors, and it’s healthy for them to play outside. In a world where new generations are choosing the internet over playdates more and more, promoting outdoor play is necessary.

One great way to achieve this is having a backyard where your kids can play, but it has to be completely safe for them. It’s very common to see kids with broken bones and injuries related to playgrounds and outdoor play, so we have gathered the essential tips for creating a safe backyard play area for kids.

General safety for backyards

You have to set some rules: The first thing parents need to do to have a safe backyard is making their kid understand basic rules when playing outside. This way, all the effort you put into making your backyard safe won’t be in vain. Some basic rules include staying inside the backyard and not going outside of it alone, and not talking to strangers without the parents being present.

Fence your backyard: It’s hard for kids to know the limits of a space if they can’t visualize it, so it’s important that parents make that separation visual. Also, fenced backyards are safer from burglars or any person that may be unwanted on your property or near your children.

Get rid of possible injury hazards: Check your background and look for anything that could harm your kid. Some things are pretty obvious, like grills, lawnmowers, or outdoor outlets. But this is the part where parents have to get creative and imagine every possible scenario.

Always supervise your kid: This is an instinct for pretty much every parent. But it needs to kick in especially when it comes to outdoor play. As many rules as you teach your child, they can always do dangerous things, so make sure your kid is always supervised either by you or someone you trust.

What to do if there’s an emergency: It doesn’t matter how much you protect your play area, accidents can always happen, and parents need to be ready at all times. A first-aid kit is obligatory in any home, especially one with a backyard play area and kids. Parents also need to know how to use it, and preferably have some knowledge of first-aid for kids. Emergency numbers have to be on hand too.

Check your backyard every day: New hazards can appear daily, so a rigorous check on your backyard has to be done every day for as long as your kid will be playing there.

Setting up a safe playground

Cover up, and get rid of everything that could harm your kid: Check the playground carefully, and start covering and setting apart anything that’s dangerous. This is something to consider when you’re purchasing the playground as well. It’s never good to have cords, as they can quickly become strangulation hazards, and anything that protrudes or has sharp points needs to be covered.

Swings: Swings are some of the most dangerous parts of a playground, so parents need to be especially careful with them. Always try to purchase swings with seats that aren’t so harsh, like wooden ones. And don’t put more than two swings in the same section, as it won’t be stable. Go for a swing set that’s sturdy and your child can grow into.

Slides: There are a few things to consider when it comes to slides. Firstly, they shouldn’t be too tall, some have established they shouldn’t be higher than four feet for young children, and lower than six feet for older children. The landing has to be on a soft surface, always avoiding concrete or a harsh material. You may also consider covering the landing space with foam or other protecting materials. Another thing you could check regularly is the temperature of the slide before your kid goes on it.

Some other tips

Trampolines: Every kid loves a trampoline, but in case you are considering getting one, you need to be careful with a few things. Make sure it’s in good condition have it be regularly checked. Also, the surroundings have to be free of any hazards (walls, furniture, equipment), and the frames have to be padded. Learn more about trampoline hazards.

Pools and hot tubs: These are fun for the whole family, but parents have to make sure it is a safe place for kids. Putting up fences on a pool is an excellent idea to avoid accidents, and installing non-slip surfaces can help when kids don’t understand that they shouldn’t run around the pool. Of course, having a clean pool is obligatory, and always make sure that your kid is being supervised (even teenagers).

A happy kid is a happy parent, and kids that play outside are notably happier. Getting them out of the computer every once in a while is healthy for them, and with these tips, you can make sure that your kid will be safe and have fun.

Henna Tattoos – How Safe Are They for Your Child?

Today, tattoos are considered a fashion accessory. With top celebrities getting inked, teenagers and even younger kids can’t wait to get similar designs on their bodies. While permanent tattoos are painful, expensive and well, permanent, temporary tattoos are quite popular among pre-teens and teens. One of such temporary tattoos is the henna tattoo. And with the trend catching up, one question that all parents need to ask is – Are henna tattoos safe for the kids?

Today, tattoos are considered a fashion accessory. With top celebrities getting inked, teenagers and even younger kids can’t wait to get similar designs on their bodies. While permanent tattoos are painful, expensive and well, permanent, temporary tattoos are quite popular among pre-teens and teens. One of such temporary tattoos is the henna tattoo. And with the trend catching up, one question that all parents need to ask is – Are henna tattoos safe for the kids?

What Are Henna Tattoos

The word ‘henna’, which comes from the Arabic word ḥinnā, is a dye prepared from the henna plant. The dye is commonly used for coloring skin, nails, hair or leather. Henna tattoos are temporary designs made on the body using these dyes. Though these tattoos originated in Egypt and were embraced by the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the trend has caught up in the western countries in recent times. The tattoos are made by staining the top few layers of the skin as opposed to injecting ink into the skin as in the case of permanent tattoos. Young people and even kids are seen sporting these temporary tattoos in parties and at carnivals.

Henna tattoos are popular among kids because:

  • They are temporary. The tattoo wears off in 1-2 weeks.
  • The procedure of getting a henna tattoo is painless.
  • They are inexpensive.
  • When done by a professional, the designs can be quite beautiful and attractive.

Types of Henna

You need to know what types of henna are used in the tattoos to better understand what is safe for kids.

  1. Natural Henna – It is made up of a paste from the dried leaves of the henna plant and essential oils like Eucalyptus oil or lemon oil. The paste is dark bottle green in color. The artist would recommend the tattoo to be washed off after 4-5 hours or that the design be left overnight to dry. After the dried henna is scraped off or washed, the design is orange in color and it slowly darkens to a red-brown in the next 24 hours. Once completely darkened, it starts fading and is gone in a week or so.
  2. Black Henna or Chemical Henna – Some henna artists apply black henna which will give the body design a black color, more like a real tattoo, instead of the red-brown of the natural henna. This henna is laden with chemicals to deepen the color. It might contain unlisted dyes too. It often contains para-phenylenediamine (PPD), a hair dye that is banned from using on the skin in many western countries.

How Can Henna Affect Your Child

Natural Henna is generally considered safe. Since it is a plant-based extract, when used in the pure form without chemical additives, it is low-risk. However, since it usually contains essential oils, predominantly eucalyptus oil, you might want to steer clear of it if your child is allergic to essential oils.

The chemicals in black henna can trigger several skin allergies. The hazards of PPD are more serious. It is known to cause severe allergic reactions such as itching, blisters, and even permanent scarring! Black Henna pastes can contain PPD from 10% to a staggering 80%! And if that isn’t scary enough, PPD exposure in childhood can lead to several problems in adulthood too. If a person is sensitized at an early age, he or she may become allergic to chemical hair dyes, perfumes, printer ink, and even some medications when older. The effects may include hospitalization or life-threatening reactions.

How to Keep Kids Safe

The red flags – if you find these, run away from the tattoos like the plague!

  1. The artist tells you the paste being used is not pure henna, but with additives to enhance color.
  2. The artist asks the paste to be washed off after one hour.
  3. The artist tells you the tattoo would be a nice black like the permanent tattoos.
  4. The henna paste has a strong chemical odor and black color.
  5. The henna is natural, but your child is allergic to essential oils.

Finally, remember that you can never be too careful with the kids. So, if in doubt about the quality of the henna, it is best to avoid letting your child get a tattoo, even if it creates tension with your child.

If after your child has had a henna tattoo, they develop an allergic reaction, go to the doctor! Also, if you suspect your child has had a tattoo previously, it would be advisable to consult a physician even in the absence of any reaction, to discuss the consequences of PPD exposure.

Stay safe!