While having a small and moving baby often prompts you to baby proof your house, it's equally important to start toddler proofing your yard when your little angel starts toddling around. It's a good precaution to take, and you can make the most of outside weather and start to burn off some of that crazy toddler energy.
Here are some items to consider.
Replace any loose pebbles in garden beds
While loose pebbles in garden beds have a great look when you have an adult outdoor entertaining area, they can easily become a choking hazard. Think about replacing your hard garden bed coverage with softfall mulch in case your toddler takes a spill while exploring the yard.
Soft grass is a great groundcover option for still unsteady feet to practise walking around, and older kids like to practise tumbling tricks and riding on scooter and balance bikes.
Lock up any chemicals
Insecticides, slug pellets and fertiliser can be very tempting for small children to explore. Even items that are not toxic can induce nausea and unpleasant side effects if consumed by a small body. Make a point to keep any garden chemical up high in securely locked cupboards or sheds.
Fence access to water
Any water features more than 30cm deep need to be fenced according to pool fence regulation. Even shallower pool or water features can be drowning hazards for children. Limit the access to water feature - including shallow plexiglass grills just below the surface of the water can be a great way to maintain the effects of the water while creating a safe environment.
Check your plants
Take a quick look through your yard, especially if you have not lived in your current place for long and have not planted many of the plants. Identify all of the plants, and check that there are no poisonous flowers lurking in the garden bed. Toddlers often put items in their mouth, so it's best to remove any toxic plants before you need to call the Poisons Information Line!
If you have a little extra room, a netted trampoline can be a fun outdoor playpen for younger babies (appropriately supervised of course) and can be used for many years as the children grow and become more confident jumping around. Trampolines are a fun option for children to burn off extra energy and practise their gross motor skills.
By toddler proofing your yard you will be able to spend many fun, stress-free hours watching your toddler discover the outside world.