child and pet

4 Pet and Child Hazards Hiding in Your Backyard (And What to Do About Them)

Your home is a place where you feel most secure, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any hazards around. The truth is that, if you aren’t careful, several things in the environment could hurt or injure you or your loved ones – and a lot of these dangers can be found in your backyard.

Your yard can be hosting various dangers for your family and your pets, from poisonous plants to insects whose bites can send you to the hospital. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the different kinds of hazards that could be lurking on your property. This way, you’d know how to get rid of them and what to do in case an accident happens.

Read on to learn more about the common hazards hiding in backyards.

1. Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are notorious for carrying and spreading a host of diseases, including dengue, malaria, and chikungunya. Your dogs aren’t safe from mosquitoes either because these pests transmit several pet illnesses and parasites, such as heartworm, West Nile virus, and Eastern equine encephalitis.

Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. So your property could be propagating these pests if you have a grass lawn, a pool, a fountain, or any other backyard feature that collects standing water. Clogged gutters and drains are also common mosquito breeding grounds.

The best way to keep your yard mosquito-free is to eliminate standing water in and around your home. This means cleaning out your gutters, properly chlorinating your pool, and keeping your grass cut short. You can also sign up for a professional mosquito control treatment if the infestation is serious in your location.

2. Ticks

Just like mosquitoes, ticks harbor various diseases, the most common of which is Lyme disease. Not everyone is aware of the danger posed by this insect, which partly explains why cases of tick-borne diseases have been increasing.

So, if you own a dog or cat, you need to be wary of tick infestation in your backyard. These pests typically hide in tall grasses and bushes and other moist, shady areas in your yard. You also want to inspect your pet, especially around the paws, ears, face, and armpits because these warm spots are where ticks and fleas like to gather.

To keep your yard free from ticks, cut your lawn short and keep your garden beds clean and dry. A tick control treatment service is also a good idea if you have lots of pets and foliage in your yard.

The CDC suggests placing a 3-feet wide barrier of wood chips or gravel around your lawn to keep ticks from migrating to recreational areas.

a huge tick

3. Poisonous weeds and plants

Several poisonous weeds can sow themselves in your garden. Many of these plants look pretty, too, so kids like to pick and play with them.

The most common example of a poisonous garden plant is the oleander flower. These pink flowers are fatal to many animals, including dogs and cats, but they’re also dangerous to humans. Touching the sap can result in skin irritation and ingesting any part of the oleander plant can cause blurred vision, dizziness, stomach pain, and even death.

Other common self-sowing poisonous plants are poison oak, belladonna, and nightshade. Familiarize yourself with these hazardous weeds so you can watch out for them whenever you’re gardening.  

4. Slippery grass and walkways

Be careful of weather-beaten pathways and slippery lawns, especially if your children like to run around outside. The walkways in your yard are often the most high-traffic areas in your house, so they get worn down easily. Worn walkways can be very slippery and cause accidents for your visitors and kids.

If your garden paths are cracked, beaten down, or uneven, have them repaved or repaired immediately before they cause any trouble. You can also switch from a concrete to a gravel walkway to make it less accident-prone.

Slippery lawns, meanwhile, need better drainage. Poorly drained lawns always have puddles of water around them, which can cause slips and falls. You can improve your soil drainage by aerating your lawn then applying a topdressing of compost or sand. The topdressing will soak up the excess water and keep your grass from becoming soggy.  

Making Your Backyard Safer

Your yard should be a space dedicated to your family’s rest and recreation, and hidden dangers defeat that purpose. If you have children or pets, assess your backyard for potential hazards and make the necessary changes to keep your family protected.

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Maggie Wheeler
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