Children are naturally drawn to sand. Whether it’s on the beach, the playground sandpit or backyard sandpit, they just have to put their feet in or start building something with the sand. However, a poorly maintained sandpit can be dangerous for children’s health.
That’s why backyard sandpit safety should be a family priority. Here are some tips on how to make a sandpit in the home garden safe.
Use Pure Sand for Sandpits
Use only pure beach sand for sandpits and not sand mixed with other things like marble dust. It’s easy to check the quality of sand. Dr. Phillip Artemi, dermatologist and co-author of All about Kids’ Skin – the Essential Guide for Parents [ABC Books], suggests running a sand quality check by putting a few teaspoons of sand into a glass of clean water and stir.
“If the sand settles and the water is clear, the sand is fine. But if the water appears cloudy or murky after the sand settles, then the sand is probably not ideal for use in a sandpit and for children to play in,” he writes.
Find a Good Location for the Sandpit
Choose a shady area with good drainage to build the sandpit. An area that appears barren is also a good site as grass and weeds won’t grow beneath the sandpit. While areas under trees are often shaded, they are not very good locations for sandpits as these places are likely to have lots of dead leaves, twigs, rotten fruits and bird droppings! Also, try to choose a spot where adults can easily watch the kids playing.
Keep the Sandpit Clean
Sand cleanliness will help keep children safe while they play in the sandpit. Artemi offers the following cleanliness approaches.
- Cover the sandpit with a shade cloth when it is not in use. This will prevent leaves and twigs from falling into the play area. Animals, especially cats, too can be prevented from wandering into it and leaving droppings behind.
- Keep the sandpit dry as a moist sandpit will become a breeding ground for insects. That’s why good drainage is important within the sandpit.
- Rake the sand daily. This aerates the sand. Also, pick up any rubbish that has ended up there.
- Don’t let children eat while playing in the sandpit. Don’t let pets go into the sandpit.
- Wash the sandpit with water, detergent and/or disinfectant in water if a child wets or dirties himself while in the sandpit. Let the sandpit dry thoroughly before allowing children to step back inside.
Have Regular Sandpit Maintenance
The sandpit should be thoroughly washed every few weeks to ensure that is clean and that dirty water can be drained out easily. Sand replacement may be necessary when it gets too dirty to be washed.
Backyard sandpit safety should be taken seriously. Begin the safety exercise by using only pure beach sand. Then find a good location in the backyard for the sandpit. Once the sandpit has been built, ensure that it is always clean and dry as well as have regular sandpit maintenance. If this sounds too much work, it’s better not to have a sandpit at all.