When you think about ways to childproof your home, that traditional baby-proofing checklist probably comes to mind. You need to install cabinet locks, cover the outlets, anchor furniture to the wall, and put medications and chemicals where they will be out of reach from the grasp of curious hands.
While these measures can indeed help to keep your child safe, the inside of your home is not the only place where you should take proper precautions to protect a little one. Have you considered how you need to childproof your outdoor living space as well?
Elements of a Safe Outdoor Living Space
Patio areas should be a safe extension of your home designed in a way for all to enjoy. The safest patio coverings are ones with child-friendly components strategically worked into the layout.
So how can you create a space where friends and family can come together for hours upon hours of fun with their youngsters? Let’s explore seven ways you can create a safe outdoor living space when planning out your patio cover.
#1 – Shade Coverage
Not all patio covers provide the same amount of shade coverage. For example, lattice patio covers or pergolas are partial-shade structures.
When you do not have full-shade coverage, even a little bit of time spent outdoors can result in a painful sunburn. Unfortunately, the Arizona sun is unforgiving. So unless you want to slather sunscreen on your child every time they spend some time under your patio, you need a fully-covered patio.
#2 – Heat Protection
Children can easily overheat in the sun, which can result in scary health complications. Another advantage of a full-shade structure is the protection it offers from the Phoenix heat. With more shade, you can better regulate the temperature underneath your patio cover.
Youngsters might need more than shade to keep cool, though. For additional heat protection, you can include fans or misters when designing your patio cover.
#3 – Railings
Not all Phoenix patio covers are ground-level structures. If your outdoor living space is elevated off the ground in any place, railings are of vital importance.
Railings are one of the best ways to prevent injuries and protect your kids from harm. In fact, railings can save lives. Falling from even the smallest drop-off can lead to broken bones or a hard hit to the head.
#4 – Ground Surface
What type of surface is underneath your patio cover? Concrete? Grass? Wood? Composite materials?
Each kind of outdoor ground surface comes with unique benefits. The grass is a soft surface for when your kiddos fall to the ground while roughhousing. Wood brings a beautiful, warm tone to your yard, but you must be aware of potential slivers and splinters. Composite materials are strong and durable yet can be extremely slippery when wet.
So how can you create a safe surface for your kids to walk, run and play on? Depending on the surface type, regular maintenance is one solution. Raw wood needs to be sealed and stained. Composite materials need to be scrubbed clean. Other times, simply adding an outdoor rug to your ground surface can provide just the right amount of cushion for those tiny feet and toes.
#5 – Plants
Plants are a wonderful way to brighten up the look and feel of your outdoor living space. But when you have kids around, you need to be mindful of what kind of plants you grow.
Although cacti are beautiful plants, a cactus plant in the path of children is asking for trouble. Prickly plants like rose bushes and succulents can be problematic, too. When choosing plants, assume they will be touched by curious fingers or accidentally bumped. Even in Arizona, there are great child-friendly plants.
#6 – Sharp Edges
If there is a corner to ram into, kids always seem to make contact with that sharp edge. You can make your patio area kid-friendly by doing what you can to eliminate corners. Select patio furniture with smooth edges. For instance, opt for the circular table rather than the rectangular table.
#7 – Design and Layout
The foot traffic under and around your patio cover needs to flow in order to keep people safe. Constant run-ins with one another will lead to injuries.
Furthermore, you should designate specific play areas that are separate from hot spots that house a fireplace or BBQ. The better your outdoor living space functions, the safer it becomes.
Making the Most of Your Patio Cover
Creating a child-friendly patio area is all about finding what works best for you and your family. Just like childproofing a house, it is not necessary to incorporate into your patio plans every single suggestion you come across.
Instead, pick and choose what elements you feel will be the most beneficial for your personal circumstances. And most of all, get ready to create hours of joyful memories with the people you love in the safe space of your outdoor living area.