Keeping Backyard Play Safe

provided by Calgary EMS

Especially in the summer months, children can be found playing in the ‘safety of their backyards’. To help keep them safe, parents must be aware that there are many potential hazards in the backyard that can result in injury to their children. Calgary EMS would like to pass along these important backyard safety tips.

Landscaping tools can be a source of curiosity, intrigue, and injury to your child:

  • Keep children out of the yard while mowing the lawn. Always be alert and ready to turn the mower off if your child approaches.
  • Keep young children away from all outdoor power equipment. Serious burns may result when touching the hot muffler of running or recently running engines.
  • Ensure that all tools fuel, chemicals and other hazardous substances are stored in a locked area. A shed with a latch door can be fiddled with and opened. In fact, for a youngster, getting the door open can be an exciting challenge.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death in children. For this reason, extreme caution is always necessary around water. Most pool drownings or near drownings involve home pools;

  • Never leave children unattended in or near water.
  • Be sure to empty and turn over anything that could pose a drowning hazard such as wading pools, buckets, and pails. Small children can drown in less than an inch of water.
  • Ensure all backyard swimming pools are fenced. The fence should be at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) high and have a self-latching, self-closing, lockable gate.
  • Sprinklers make an excellent alternative to water fun. Use only on the grass and make sure the surrounding area is free of obstacles and debris.

Protect your child from nature:

  • Minimise the risk of bee and insect stings by having your children wear shoes and light-coloured clothing.
  • Protect your children from insect bites by using repellent containing Deet. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If a child experiences a reaction to an insect bite, seek medical attention immediately.

Each year in Canada, thousands of children suffer from playground injuries. One out of five injuries that occur on play equipment happen in backyard play areas. To reduce the risk of injury in backyard play areas:


  • Supervise all young children closely and carefully.
  • Remove drawstrings and scarves from children’s clothing.
  • Ensure the equipment in your yard is suitable for the age and skill of the children using it.
  • Properly secure equipment to the ground.
  • Set up backyard swings and other play equipment on 8 to 12 inches of a shock-absorbing surface such as sand, wood chips or pea gravel. Grass will not adequately cushion a fall.
  • Limit the height of the equipment in your backyard to less than 1.8 metres (6 feet).
  • Check the equipment often and repair any worn, loose or broken parts.
  • Make sure children know the basic rules of safe play.


  • Always wear shoes.
  • Only allow one person on the slide at a time.
  • Wait your turn.
  • Hold on with both hands when swinging and climbing.

Play Safe and Have Fun!