24. May 2018

Child-proof your garden!

This post is about my worst parenting experience ever. Thinking about it still makes my stomach hurt. Remember to child-proof your garden so that you do don't have to live through what I did!

A few years back, we had a one-year old who absolutely loved water. Our flourishing garden did too of course! My solution was to gather rainwater in a large barrel where my kids could get all the water they needed for their garden projects.


It was a lovely summer day and my children were playing right by the barrel that was filled to the brim. I was right there and kept a close eye on my kids. But then I needed to run to the kitchen, just a few strides away. I thought I knew what they were doing and my older kids were still outside.


Just a few moments after I went inside, I heard a harrowing scream from our bedroom next to the kitchen. My husband came rushing from the room and ran straight outside. He had just woken up from a nap. When he sat up in the bed and looked through the window, he saw our one-year-old topple over and fall straight into the barrel, head first. He got to her quickly and she was fine. But the incident shocked me deeply. I still feel dizzy whenever I think about it. I don't think we've actually spoken much about it since. There are no words. I think about safety differently since. It's so important to child-proof your garden.


Vattentunnor vid en stupränna, water barrels by the drainpipe.

Most of these barrels are empty now that I've watered the polytunnel.


This incident is the worst thing I've ever experienced as a parent. I cry every time I think about it and I can't stop blaming myself for being so stupid. You might now that feeling though, when you just think that you'll be gone for a second and that nothing can go wrong in such a short time. I thought I would hear if something was going on. But I didn't. An accident can happen in just a split second and it's my responsibility to make sure that it won't. That moment could've been the last. It's horrible. That's why it's so important to do everything you can to child-proof your garden.


We have a new toddler in the family now who also loves water. But this time, my barrels and buckets are sealed with lids! If you're also collecting rainwater and have children around, you should do the same. I don't cover my watering cans, but I do use lids for all of my larger barrels in the garden now. I have a plastic tub under my drainpipe that I don't cover but I always make sure to empty the water out so that there's just a little bit left that Loa can play safely with. Covering all large buckets where water might gather is a really easy way to child-proof your garden!


En badbalja under ett stuprör, a plastic tub under the drainpipe.

I gather rainwater in this plastic tub and empty the water in a large barrel. (The device next to the tub is of course not connected to a power source, it's used as a toy.)


As long as it's safe, I don't mind giving my children the opportunity to play with water. They just love it! I'll gladly pour water in bowl after bowl so that Loa can play with bark boats all day long. Or for that matter, sit in the water or pour it on himself. It's all equally fun and I don't mind drying the clothes afterwards. I'd much rather do that than fish my children out of a barrel...

So remember to child-proof your garden by always covering your buckets and barrels with lids!
/Sara Bäckmo

3 responses to “Child-proof your garden!”

  1. Catherine says:

    Sara, thank you for sharing your experience. Sometimes it is what we learn from others, or what we share with others, that we make a difference. I am so glad that this experience did have a good ending. Catherine

  2. Cindy says:

    Just about the same thing happened to me. My daughter leaned over the edge of the rain barrel and got hung up on it and was bobbing up and down into the water. Thankfully I was right there and saw it happen. I never did tell my husband that it happened.

    • Sara Bäckmo says:

      Oh shit! As I wrote, we never talk about it. I feel so bad when thinking about what could have happened. Glad it ended in a good way for both of us and our children.

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