10 tips for child safety in the garden

Harvesting vegetables in the garden together with the children. This way, they not only learn where food comes from, but also become more curious. Homegrown vegetables are much more eagerly eaten!

The garden is the ideal place for children to experience nature and animals up close. They can sow plants, nurture them, watch them grow, and most excitingly, harvest and snack on them. This way, children develop a taste for fruits and vegetables, spend time outdoors, and observe insects, hedgehogs, and birds. They can of course let off steam while playing in the sandpit, climbing on structures, and playing on swings. You must be able to relax and not worry about injury or poisoning. Your garden should be childproof for your children as well as for visitors. We'll explain what you should pay attention to and how you can avoid hazards.

Checklist with 10 tips for a childproof garden

1. Avoid poisonous plants

2. Secure garden ponds, pools, and other water features

3. Fence the property

4. Ensure safe climbing trees

5. Check playground equipment for safety

6. Store garden tools in a childproof manner

7. Secure power outlets and gas sources

8. Secure stairs and slopes

9. Inspect garden furniture

10. Protection around fire pits

Poisonous plants like the European yew can pose a danger to your children in the garden. The red flesh of the fruit looks edible, but the seeds are highly toxic!

Avoid poisonous plants

Enjoy planting your garden with a variety of plants to make it green and bloom. This also provides food and shelter for many insects. However, if you want a garden where children can also play, there are several things to consider when selecting plants. Many of the common garden plants are poisonous and therefore not suitable for a child-friendly garden.

Avoid wisteria, lily of the valley, yews, and other poisonous garden plants – at least while your children are still small. Many poisonous plants bear berries or flowers that may tempt children to touch or eat them. Make sure to warn your children not to touch or eat unfamiliar plants. The best self-protection against poisonings is children's knowledge of the toxicity of certain plants. You can protect yourself with gloves if you have these plants in your garden and need to care for or remove them.

Here are some of the most common poisonous garden plants:






Angel's trumpet



Autumn crocus

Cherry laurel



Lily of the valley


Spindle tree


False cypress



If you can’t be without these plants, make sure to inform the children about their toxicity and never leave toddlers unattended around them. Dispose of the clippings from these poisonous plants in a childproof manner. You can either take them directly to the green waste disposal site after cutting or dispose of them in the organic waste bin. However, do not store them in the compost area.

If a child has ingested poisonous plants despite all precautions, or if allergic reactions occur after touching them, call your local emergency services. Poisoning symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal pain, headache, or even shock, which may occur hours after consuming poisonous plants.

In addition to avoiding poisonous plants, you can also refrain from using strongly thorned or spiky plants in a child-friendly garden. The thorns on the branches of barberries and similar plants can injure children's hands, and falling into a rose bush can be very painful. To keep your roses in check and ensure they show more blooms than thorns, pay attention to regular and proper pruning. Additionally, consciously choose edible plants for the child-friendly garden, such as delicious strawberries, vegetables, herbs, or even exotic fruits.

Ponds, pools, or other water features in the garden should be secured by a barrier such as a fence.

Secure garden ponds, pools, and other water features

Water in the garden captivates both children and adults alike; it simply draws everyone in magically. Watching fish, frogs, and dragonflies in the water and at the garden pond is enjoyable for children, and dipping their fingers in is even more tempting. Pools or paddling pools are also becoming increasingly popular. As beautiful as water features are in the garden, they must be secured well to prevent children from accessing the water unsupervised and potentially drowning in the worst-case scenario.

It doesn't matter how deep the water is: when children are in the garden, water features must always be secured. This applies to pools, garden ponds, or rain barrels as well as to mini-ponds, fountains, or bird baths. Toddlers can drown easily in very shallow water if they end up with their heads under the water. Never let children play unsupervised near unsecured water features. Even playing in paddling pools must be supervised. A child can slip and fall into the water and may not be able to get up on their own.

You can equip rain barrels with lids that children should not be able to lift. Remove any climbing aids located near the barrel.

Your garden pond should be childproof and fenced off, and the surface secured with a sturdy grate. If children are always under supervision and are also allowed to play at the water's edge, then your pond should not have steep sloping banks or slippery flooring around the edge.

A pool must also be securely fenced off. A barrier fence that children cannot climb over prevents dangerous situations. When the pool is not in use, a lockable pool cover can seal off the water surface. Important: If there is no fence surrounding the pool area and the water surface is not covered, you must always watch out for toddlers, even if it's not time for swimming. Never let children play unsupervised near a pool!

You also need to secure above-ground pools or paddling pools and remove the ladder when not in use, so that children cannot climb into the water unsupervised. Additionally, ensure other cooling options are available during summer heat, so that you, your children, and even the animals can keep cool and avoid suffering from hot temperatures.

Pool alarm
As an additional safety measure, you can install a pool alarm system, which triggers an alarm in case of significant water movements. However, this should only be considered as a supplement to fencing or covering.
With the right fence, you prevent children from leaving your secure property.

Fence the property

Children love to go on adventures and are curious, even about the world outside the garden. To prevent them from making unwanted trips out of your garden, such as onto a busy road, you should make your garden “escape-proof.” This also prevents children from entering your garden unsupervised. Ponds and other features often have a magical allure even to neighbouring children. Ideally, a fence seals off the property boundary. Hedges usually aren't sufficient, as children can still slip through the smallest gaps.

A childproof fence should be 1.40 m high. Well-suited options include panel fences or picket fences with vertically running slats or closely spaced horizontal slats. Children should not be able to climb the fence. The spacing between vertically running slats should not be greater than 11 cm, so that a child's head cannot get stuck in the gaps.

Fences with pointed ends such as picket fences or wrought iron elements are not recommended for child-friendly gardens.

Regularly inspect your garden fence for any damaged areas. Remove protruding nails, tighten loose screws, and sand down rough spots on wooden boards to smooth them out. If you want your fence not only to keep children in check but also to prevent unwanted views, consider building it as a privacy fence – we have a simple guide for you.

If the branches of the climbing tree have been checked for decay beforehand, you can also allow children to climb trees under supervision.

Ensure safe climbing trees

Climbing trees is a real adventure and a challenge for children. They are so proud and happy when they manage to conquer a tree! That's why you should allow climbing trees in your garden. However, only under certain conditions and following climbing rules:

The climbing tree must not have any rotten branches and must naturally be stable overall and sufficiently large. A rotten, old fruit tree is not a good climbing tree.

Allow the children to climb only to a height from which they can climb back down on their own and feel comfortable doing so. Assist smaller children with climbing, providing support and advice.

The ground beneath the climbing tree should not be too hard. Sand or grass are better than a paved surface. If possible and necessary, you can also lay down old mattresses for additional safety.

A treehouse is every child's dream! If you have built a treehouse in your garden to delight your children, you should check the connections and the strength of the boards and the rope ladder at least once a year.

If you want to build a climbing wall for your children, we have a guide for you on how to make one from an old beer garden table set. It's important when climbing and bouldering to place a crash pad in front of the climbing wall to cushion potential falls.

If the kids prefer to stay on the ground, why not build them a mud kitchen! Here they can tinker and learn a lot. 

6_iStock_ Getty Images Plus_ 474711300
Sturdily built, safe play equipment ensures risk-free play in the garden. Well-built yet slightly crooked and uneven can be especially cool.

Check playground equipment for safety

Swings, climbing frames, slides, and sandpits are usually part of the basic equipment of a child-friendly garden.

Play equipment must be securely installed. The foundation must be load-bearing and must not sink. It's also important to regularly check play equipment to ensure that the screws are still tight, the wooden posts are not brittle, and the ropes of the swings are still strong.

When purchasing play equipment, look for the blue GS mark, which guarantees “tested safety.” The equipment has been tested by TÜV or DEKRA.

The ground beneath slides, climbing frames, and swings should be soft. Grass, sand, or recycled plastic fall protection mats are ideal.

The sandpit should be regularly checked for contamination. Unfortunately, cats tend to use the sand area as a litter box. If necessary, replace the play sand regularly. The sandpit border should be defect-free and free from splinters. Use a cover or lid to protect the sandpit from contamination when not in use.

Sun protection for play areas
If your garden doesn't have shaded areas provided by large trees or the shadow of the house, then you should ensure other shading options. Sun protection is also part of the topic of “safe play in the garden,” as children's skin is much more sensitive than adults. Choose sturdy umbrellas, sun sails, or awnings that have a UV protection of UPF 50plus to minimize the amount of UV light reaching the play area.
Store garden tools and chemicals such as fertiliser and pesticides in a locked garden shed, inaccessible to children.

Store garden tools in a childproof manner

After using rakes, shovels, shears, or saws in the garden, always put them away immediately so that children playing and running around don't step on the tines or get injured by sharp blades and saw blades. Store the tools securely in a lockable garden shed. Also, make sure to keep fertilisers, plant protection chemicals, plant strengtheners, pool chemicals, and other toxic materials out of reach of children at all times.

The increasingly popular robotic lawn mowers, which take a lot of garden work off our hands, also fascinate children. The diligent mini-mowing machines move across the lawn like small, lively sheep. To prevent children from being tempted to play with the lawn mowers, it's advisable to program the mowing times of your lawn mower so that they fall outside of your children's garden playtime. For example, let the lawn mower work during nursery and school hours. However, the lawn mower should not operate at dusk or at night, as hedgehogs are active and roam the garden during these times. Explain to your children that they should never reach under the lawn mower, as sharp cutting blades rotate there – this applies to both robotic lawn mowers and manual ones. For instance, the Indego robotic lawn mower has sensors that allow it to navigate around obstacles and stop the cutting blades within seconds if it is lifted.

As long as the children are still small, it is advisable to equip the outdoor power outlets with child safety covers to prevent accidents.

Secure power outlets and gas sources

Garden lighting is becoming increasingly popular, so outdoor power outlets in the patio area are almost always part of a garden's basic equipment. Equip these power outlets with child safety covers, at least if your children are still small.

Gas cylinders for the gas grill or ethanol for garden torches must be stored securely. Ensure that children cannot light the gas grill or turn on garden torches unsupervised, and never leave them alone with a hot grill.

After a fall while playing in the garden, it's important to disinfect the wound first to prevent infections.

Secure stairs and slopes

If your property has a slope, embankments, or small walls to create a more level area then secure these height differences while your children are still very young. There is a risk of falling even with small differences in height. Elevated wooden decks, a sunken seating area, garden stairs, or the staircase leading to the basement must also be secured.

You should also regularly check your garden furniture for stability and safety to prevent injuries.

Inspect garden furniture

Many modern garden furniture pieces are very robust and have good quality and stability. However, make sure that chairs and tables cannot easily tip over if a child pulls on them or climbs onto the furniture.

Screws must be tightened securely, wooden furniture should not have any splinters, so sand them down regularly. This can be done quickly and easily with a multi-sander.

Sharp edges from ceramic, glass, or stone tabletops, should not be at head height for children. If you cannot avoid this, attach corner protectors to the table edges.

When buying new garden furniture, keep in mind that solid chairs are safer for children than folding chairs, adjustable reclining chairs, or garden loungers with variable reclining surfaces. Children can easily pinch their fingers in these.

Fire sources like grills or fire pits are magnetically attractive to children – therefore, never let them play near them unsupervised. However, if you practice handling them together, your child will become more confident and safer.

Protection around fire sources

Never let garden fireplaces, charcoal grills, or fire pits burn when children are unsupervised nearby. The outer walls of these appliances become incredibly hot! However, supervised play with fire is allowed to a certain extent. After all, playing with fire can be fun and children should learn how to handle it. You can combine this with a DIY project and build a grill from an old washing machine drum!

Also, place candles, lanterns, and oil-powered torches out of reach of children.

Conclusion for your childproof garden

Every garden is different, and we cannot address individual hazards here. Please always thoroughly check whether you have eliminated potential hazards or avoided risks in all areas of your garden. Children should be able to use the garden as a safe place for exploring nature, playing, and having fun, while still ensuring that the garden does not become a high-security area. The garden should remain a place of relaxation and a sanctuary for the whole family. You can find out how to plan and create a family garden here. If you also want your home to be childproof, we have 3 tips with a DIY guide for you.