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Making a Shed Child Friendly - Thursday, November 20, 2014

When was the last time you crawled on your hands and knees around your garden’s shed? As strange as that may sound, maybe you should give it a try. If you have children, you should be well aware that they have a natural tendency to explore their everyday environment, therefore, it’s vital to double-check things out from their perspective to ensure that your garden and shed are child friendly. 

When we hear the term “baby proofing” or “childproofing”, we often first think of babies. However, whether we like to believe it or not, the leading cause of death in kids 14 years of age and under is due to unintentional injury. What’s more astonishing is that more than ⅓ of these injuries occur right at home. With that being said, it’s clear to see that safety in the home and garden is something that we can never take too seriously. But at the same time, we also want to make our children’s time outdoors as enjoyable as possible.

While supervision is the best way to prevent most injuries, even the most responsible of parents won’t always be able to keep their kids out of harm’s way every minute of the day. Below are a few tips to help make a child friendly shed: 
  • Add corners and edge bumper along the edges of sharp objects like tool sheds, counters and cabinets.

  • Securely store your tools and other sharp objects like scissors in locked toolboxes. While your children may be able to use proper gardening tools at the appropriate age, make sure they know to ask your permission before they even touch them. Guide them and teach them how to safely use these tools and lock them away securely after use. 

  • Avoid potential choking hazards by storing smaller objects, like craft supplies, in childproof containers. Play it safe and store these smaller items on higher shelves. 

  • Install doorstops and door holders to prevent your kids’ fingers from getting crushed between the door and door hinges. Make sure that these will not break into smaller parts to avoid a choking hazard. 

  • Place childproof outlet covers and outlet plates over all electrical plugs. Make sure that they are durable enough so they cannot be removed and big enough so that children cannot swallow. 

  • If there are windows in your shed, you’ll also want to make sure you do your best to protect them from breaking in the event of an accident, man-made or not. One of the most popular options for making child friendly shed windows is to use safety glass. Alternatively, you can add a small trellis to cover each window to prevent balls or other flying toys from destroying it. 

A Daily Precaution

Despite how well behaved you believe your children may be, always make sure to unplug all electrical devices and keep electrical cords out of reach. Kids are naturally curious and there is always a chance they will try to figure out how something works if you give them the opportunity. Be sure to cover the electrical outlets with childproof plates when you’re done. 

Be Weary of Water

For sheds that have sinks installed, make sure that the sink’s tub and faucet handles are out of reach and there is no way for children to climb into or onto it. For additional safety, be sure to have an anti-scald device installed as well. It only takes a few inches of water to create a drowning hazard. 

Pest & Parasites

While safely storing sharp tools and garden equipment are often the main safety concerns when it comes to making a safe shed for children, there is also another safety issue that parents need to take seriously: rats and other pests!  Each week, make sure to do a thorough search under, around and behind your shed’s furniture to ensure it’s clear of droppings and faeces. 

Apart from being disgusting, pest and other animal droppings often carry bacteria that can transfer onto humans, which can potentially cause illness. Cat faeces, in particular, can cause birth defects in unborn children. 

Also be sure to perform a weekly search for dangerous insects as well. Depending on the climate you live in, you may have to keep an eye out for poisonous spiders, cockroaches and other unpleasant bugs that could potentially bring harm to your children. As a safety precaution, consider spraying the perimeter of the shed with child-friendly and pet-friendly insect repellent. 

With a little planning and strategy, what was once a seemingly dangerous shed can be turned into something child-friendly!

If you think your shed is still a bit too dangerous for children to be going in then you might want to consider getting them a playhouse instead.  Our helpful video showcasing the Shed-Plus playhouses we have to offer is below so you can find out more about the range.
Be sure to check out our range of garden sheds and playhouses.
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