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We don’t think of our back yards as being a source of danger, but there are a surprising number of hazards, beyond the obvious ones of swimming pools and sun burn. Make sure your garden is a place you can relax in confidence with our safety tips!
Avoiding bites, stings and cuts
Always treat any gardening injuries immediately, however small they may be. Prevent them by wearing enclosed shoes and gloves when you are working in the garden, and preferably also sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes. Make sure that your tetanus is up to date before you start gardening, and if you do cut yourself disinfect and cover the cut as soon as possible.
To avoid bites and stings, keep your garden as tidy as you can – spiders and snakes love piles of debris or even old leaves. If you are bitten by something, seek medical help immediately. Describe the biter as clearly as possible to medical staff in case you need anti-venom.
Take care of your trees
Make sure all your trees are examined regularly for any dead wood or loose limbs. In the case of larger trees, have them regularly checked by a specialist and if any branches need to be removed, or a tree taken down, for your own safety, please get a specialist to do it (do get at least three quotes – prices can vary widely). Keep trees clear of power lines.
Chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides can be extremely dangerous. Please don’t just leave them on a shelf in a shed, keep them locked up out of the reach of children, stored in the original, clearly labelled packaging. Only use them as directed and on still days with no wind – you don’t want to accidentally spray your plants rather than the weeds – and wear goggles, a mask and protective clothing. Keep children and pets indoors while you are spraying and keep them away from areas you have sprayed recently.
Fertilisers and organic materials
Many fertilisers and manures may be poisonous or contain dangerous bacteria, so handle with care. Use gloves and a breathing mask when you apply them and shower and wash the clothes you were wearing afterwards. Take similar precautions when you are applying mulches or using potting mix or soil.
Lawn mowers and fuel
Lawn mowers, whipper snippers and similar tools should be used with great care. Always wear strong enclosed shoes, eye protection and ear protection and keep children and dogs inside – a severed toe or tail can happen all too easily. Have an electrician install a safety switch so that if you accidentally cut through a cable, the electricity is cut so you are not electrocuted. Be careful around fuel, too. Keep it stored away from children and all sources of flame or sparks. Never smoke anywhere around fuel and be aware that even a small spark from static electricity could be enough to start a fire.
Don’t store tools and toys in the same area. Many gardening tools are sharp and heavy and could seriously injure a child. As for adults, always use garden tools with care and don’t leave them lying around. In cartoons, a character standing on the end of a rake and being hit in the face is hilarious, but in real life it’s incredibly painful!
Swimming Pool Safety
At least once a year check your pool fence and gates. Are they still strong and secure? Does the child-resistant gate still self-close and latch automatically? Is your resuscitation sign still clear and legible? Clear away any items that could be used to climb the fence, like chairs and planter boxes. Plants that grow on or next to pool fences can make good footholds – either don’t grow them there or keep them pruned to prevent this. Please don’t be lulled into a sense of security if you don’t have your own children – young children can be amazingly adventurous and by keeping your pool safe you are protecting not only visiting children, but also the children in your neighbourhood.
And don’t forget the most basic advice of all – on a hot day use sun cream and wear a hat!
write by Barker