Kids love to romp and play outside, especially in the summer months. While
the great outdoors can be great fun, there are some hazards to avoid--lead
in garden soil, various stinging and disease carrying insects, and
Below you will find important information on what to watch out for-- and
what to do if your child should get into harmís way! There are also some
handy toll free numbers to call, and websites to visit for help and
Avoiding lead in the garden:
Have your child wear gloves while gardening.
seeds in raised beds filled with clean soil and compost, instead of in the
Be sure to check around buildings for paint chips. Throw them away so
children can not put them in their mouths.
Make sure you feed your child before they go outside to garden. Studies
show that when children ingest lead, they will absorb 80% of it when their
stomachs are empty, and only 10% when they are full.
Regularly feed your child a good diet. Foods rich in calcium and iron may
prevent absorption of low levels of lead in children. Some calcium rich
foods are milk, cheese, and yogurt. Good sources of iron include liver,
beef, lamb, spinach, kale, and turnip greens.
Be sure to have children wash their hands thoroughly after gardening.
Have them tested annually for lead, if they are between the ages of one
The National Lead Information Center
Protecting against insects:
When weather permits, dress your toddler in clothes that cover as much
skin as possible. Tuck pant legs into socks, wear closed shoes, long
sleeved shirts, and a hat. Choose pastel colors, white, green or khaki
colored clothing, instead of dark, bright or flowered ones.
for unscented detergents, soaps, diaper wipes, lotions and sun screens.
Scented products and perfumes attract bugs.
Using insect repellents designed for children only. Use roll-ons, lotions,
or creams, not sprays. Sprays are harder to direct and may inadvertently
be inhaled or gotten into the eyes.
To avoid bees, stay away from wildflowers, clover, fruit trees, and
overflowing garbage cans. Donít give sticky, sweet treats and juices when
you are outdoors, and keep little faces and fingers washed.
To protect against mosquitoes, try using a net cover on your stroller, and
avoid being outdoors at night when mosquitoes are in large numbers. Stay
away from stagnant water, puddles, and rain barrels where they like to
To prevent bites from venomous spiders, keep children out of warm, dry,
dark places, where spiders are likely to hide. avoid attics, unfinished
basements, garages, storage sheds, and closets. Remove spider webs around
the home, and check items you are taking out of storage. Empty out shoes
and boots, and check clothing carefully.
To protect against deer ticks which can cause Lyme disease, avoid hiking
and playing in wooded areas. Use insect repellent, and cover the skin as
much as possible. Tuck long sleeves into gloves and pant legs into socks,
and wear closed shoes and a hat. After hiking, carefully check the hair,
body and clothing for ticks. Also check the family pets, as ticks can
easily hide in an animalís fur. If you discover a tick, remove it as
quickly as possible. It takes only 24-48 hours for a tick to transmit Lyme
disease and cause full blown symptoms.
** To remove a tick, swab the area with alcohol, grasp it with a pair of
blunt end tweezers, and pull steadily and evenly in an upward direction.
Avoid twisting, jerking, squeezing, crushing or puncturing the tick. Save
the tick for identification purposes when you take your child to the
doctor. A deer tick is generally the size of a pin head, and is black and
brown. Itís bite leaves a reddened, round area that develops a clear
ďbullís eyeĒ center.
Protecting your child from poisonous plants:
common house and garden plants are poisonous when eaten. To be absolutely
safe, avoid having any of the plants listed below around your toddler. If
that is not possible, they should be placed up high where toddlers can not
reach them, and where leaves and flowers canít fall to the floor. Label
each plant with itís common and botanical names so you can report them to
your doctor or poison control center in case of accidental ingestion.
Azalea, Caladium, Daffodil bulbs, Daphne, Dumb cane, English ivy,
Foxglove, Holly, Hyacinth, Hydrangea, Iris, Japanese yew, Jerusalem
cherry, Larkspur, Laurel, Lily of the valley, Mistletoe, Morning glory,
Narcissus, Oleander, Philodendron, Privet, Rhododendron, Rhubarb, Sweet
peas, Tomato, Wisteria
For more information about preventing poisoning in children, contact: