Gardening Tips and Tricks : Garden Water Fountains and Safety for Kids
Just because you have children or frequent visits from children doesn’t mean you can’t have a lovely garden pool or a water fountain complete with safety for kids. Consider something like a garden fountain surrounded with stones that has no pooling water in which a little one can come to harm.
Safety for Kids is a Valid Concern
One of the biggest concerns about water gardening or a water fountain is the safety of kids. A toddler can drown in just an inch of water or in a partly filled 5-gallon bucket. No wonder that parents, grandparents, and neighbors are fearful around any kind of garden fountain. No garden fountain can be made absolutely childproof, but there are a number of ways you can make yours safer. Shallow pools and garden fountains designed for safety and have strategically placed boulders, and fencing help children and garden fountains to coexist with less worry. Of course, you should never leave children unattended even around shallow water or the most carefully designed water feature.
No Garden Water Fountain is Childproof
Keep in mind that safety for kids is dependent somewhat on age-a garden that is safe for older children may not be safe for toddlers. You may feel confident that a 5-year-old is safe near a half-whiskey-barrel tub garden, but don’t expect an 18-month-old to be.
Even 8-and 9-year-olds should be supervised near garden water fountains that have 3 feet or more of water. It’s a mistake to believe you can create a large pond and train children to stay away from it. The same attractions that draw adults to splashing water, pretty fish, and the joy of dangling a hand in cool water also entice the best-behaved children. And even well trained children have friends or neighbors who will be drawn to your garden fountain.
Although you should make sure your homeowner’s insurance will cover a water garden fountain accident, the best approach is to design the garden water fountain with safety for kids in mind so that tragedy doesn’t happen in the first place.
Fencing Ensures Safety for Kids Around Garden Water Fountains
A fence, as long as it surrounds the pool and has a childproof or locked gate allows you to have peace of mind with any kind of water garden that you want. Pretty picket fencing, 6-foot privacy fencing, and stucco or adobe walls-all can keep young visitors out of harm’s way. However, before building a fence, check your local building codes. Your community may require a certain type of fencing.
By controlling the depth of your garden water fountain, keeping it to an inch or less, you can improve its safety. Fill fountain gardens and tub gardens with attractive stones so a child’s face cannot be submerged.
Fountains can be made relatively safe by building the bottom tiers too high for toddlers to tip into; walls should be at least 2l/i to 3 feet. Similarly, a wall fountain is a less likely threat if its basin is higher than a toddler’s head. Above ground pools will be similarly safe if you build the sides too tall for small children to climb onto.
every garden water pool will have an edge of some material and if it’s made of stone, brick, slate, or concrete, it will get slippery, from water or from algae growth. This is not good for the safety of kid’s around a garden water fountain.
Edging around an in-ground pool creates a path that beckons children to walk around or balance on. It’s better to use turf or edging that blends with surrounding materials to make the contours of the pool less inviting as a play area.
The placement of your garden water fountain also will affect its safety. Don’t locate it just outside the back door; small children can slip out easily and unnoticed and into the water. On the other hand, if you position the pool far away from the house or out of sight, you won’t be able to supervise older children.
A garden fountain by the deck is striking (and an increasingly popular addition), but it could be dangerous in homes where small children live or where they will be frequent visitors.
For additional safety, install a floating alarm (designed for swimming pools) in your garden water fountain basin. The alarm will sound if the water surface is disturbed. Consider constructing a shallow reflecting pool, a millstone fountain on a mound of river rock, or a shallow stream. Fill fountains and tub gardens with attractive stones so a child’s face cannot be submerged at any point.