I have been a parent for the last 18 years to four wonderful children, the youngest of whom is just 7 years old. So, over the years, I’ve felt the pain of worrying whether my children will be OK playing in the garden and choosing the best fencing for kids was one of the things I had to think about.
I live in a property where the backyard cannot be seen from the windows in the main part of the house. You actually have to go outside to see what’s going on in the garden. This means that security is even more important to me. I wanted to share what I’ve learned about fencing for kids in the hope that it’ll make your choices that little bit easier.
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Fencing Considerations When You Have Children
Installing a fence can seem like a pretty standard and even simple thing to do but when you have children, there are a lot more things to think about. Some fences won’t offer the security you’re looking for and that’s not just for those who have kids. Pet owners would also benefit from the following information so let’s dive in.
Have The Fence Properly Installed
I know that many of you reading this will be clamouring for a weekend project to keep you busy and improve your DIY skills. But fencing isn’t it. Unless you’re someone who’s already got a lot of experience with fencing under your belt, then I’d always recommend calling in the experts.
You see, children can be very inquisitive and if there’s a loose panel or a gap in the fence, they aren’t going to realise the dangers associated with going through it. Of course, I’m not suggesting that any parent would poorly install a fence on purpose but when you don’t have the right skills, mistakes are easy.
Hiring a professional will ensure that the fence is installed to the highest and most secure standards.. Yes, it is going to come with additional costs but you cannot put a price on your child’s safety.
There are various types of materials for garden fences and each has its pros and cons. For example, a wooden fence provides a natural and attractive look for the garden. What’s more, these are very durable especially when owners take good care of them. However, they’re not as long lasting and come with the risk of splinters.
On the other hand, you might choose a vinyl fence which provides very long lasting security and doesn’t pose a risk of injury because of splinters and nails etc. On the downside, they’re not as attractive, at least not in my opinion although they do require far less maintenance.
Finally, there are aluminium fences which are among some of the most durable out there and will last well over half a century. However, they’re usually in a railing design which doesn’t offer a lot of privacy and, where the gaps between the rails are slightly wider, there is a risk of the child slipping through.
Another reason that I’d encourage you to have your fence professionally installed is because this will prevent any safety issues.
This is especially true of wooden fences where there may be splinters, nails sticking out and other hazards that could injure a child. Moreover, when a fence is not properly installed, it may not be stable and something as small as a gust of wind could cause it to blow over. If your child was standing in the way, it doesn’t take me to tell you what the consequences might be.
Fence Size And Strength
The size of your fence plays an important role in keeping your child safe. If your little one is able to climb over it then it’s not tall enough. Fences come in various sizes and I’d say that 6ft was the absolute minimum for homes where there are children.
On top of this, you want to consider how easy the fence is to climb because even if it’s tall, any foothold will make it a doddle to scale. Therefore, it’s worth thinking about choosing a material like vinyl that is solid and very difficult to climb. This works in reverse as well and these fences are a lot more challenging for potential intruders.
I’d also encourage you to consider where the fences are placed. You want to make sure that there are no gaps. While some gaps might look small, it’s amazing what a child can squeeze themselves through when they put their mind to it (I once had a friend who got her head stuck in some bridge railings as a child. I’ve no idea how since it took the fire brigade to free her but one way or another, she managed to squeeze her head in.)
Another thing that’s really important to consider when choosing child-friendly fencing is how much privacy it offers. We sadly live in a day and age where you can never be too careful. If you live alongside a public walkway or road then you want a fence that completely blocks this out so there’s no risk of your child interacting with strangers.
What’s more, you don’t want your child being watched by nosy neighbours or the like so having a solid fence will eliminate any worry of this.
But solid fences aren’t only beneficial against who might be peering in, they’ll also stop your child from being tempted by what they see outside of the fence. For example, young children who spot a cat or an interesting looking car outside the fence may have no regard for their own safety and may attempt to get out of an open fence. It’s simply not worth the risk.
Thinking About High Risk Areas
When most of us think about fencing, our minds often turn to the fences that sit around the boundaries of the home. Yes, these are incredibly important and one of the main types of fences that you’ll choose when securing your garden for your family.
However, what a lot of parents forget is to secure other areas that may be within the property bounds but could pose a risk to their kids.
For example, a BBQ area, a water feature, pond or pool as well as areas that have steep slopes or steps could all pose a health and safety risk. By sectioning off these areas with fences, you’re limiting your child’s chances of sustaining an injury while playing in the garden.
What About Gates?
There are some instances where you’ll need to install a gate in one of your fences. This might be along the boundary fence as an entrance/exit or in one of the fences that are limiting access to high risk areas.
However, putting a gate in could open up a whole world for your child to explore when you’re actually trying to keep them safe.
Where a gate must be installed, I’d suggest choosing one with many of the same properties you’d look for in a fence to protect your children. What’s more, always make sure that it’s locked and that any latches are well out of the reach of little fingers. If possible, padlock the gate and keep the key with you so there’s no risk of anyone getting in or out.
A Word On Aluminium Fences
Aluminium fences are usually railings but they can come in several different heights. While they’re not as beneficial in terms of privacy, they are incredibly strong and difficult to get through or break.
If you do decide that an aluminium fence is the right choice for your garden, you’ll have a choice between a speared top and a flat top. Speared top aluminium fences are often used as a deterrent for intruders who aren’t going to want to risk scaling a fence that might impale them.
However, the same accident could occur to a child trying to get over the fence so I’d never recommend going to a spear-topped design. Flat top aluminium fences do not carry this risk and are much safer.
Being a parent requires you to always be on your guard. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a helping hand. Having a good quality, secure fence around your garden will boost the safety of your child and help you to relax a little.
It’s worth considering things like the fence material, strength, size and how it’s installed. By thinking about these things, you can ensure that your little one can enjoy the garden without having to worry.