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New FLOWERS campaign highlights importance of garden safety

14 May 2018
As Spring moves into Summer, a new campaign has been launched reminding householders of the importance of keeping themselves – and especially their children – safe in the garden.

Using the acronym FLOWERS, the campaign highlights seven key areas that are among the most common causes of garden accidents.

They are:

Fences. Secure all fences and close garden gates when children are playing outside.

Lighting barbecues. Keep lit barbecues in an open space and never leave children unsupervised near a barbecue. Make sure they are fully extinguished when finished. Take care when disposing of barbecues and coals and make sure they have cooled down before putting them in the bin.

Out of Reach. Keep chemicals and tools out of reach. Store them on a high shelf in a secure garden shed.

Water. Always make sure that garden ponds are securely covered and children are supervised while playing in a paddling pool. Be aware of items that can fill with rain water such as buckets, plant pots and sand pit lids. As little as three centimetres of water can drown a small child.

Electrical Equipment. Lock all equipment such as power tools and lawnmowers in a shed or garage.

Remove Poisonous Plants and Berries. If you have poisonous trees in your garden, fence them off.

Soft Surfaces. Ensure all play equipment is placed on a soft surface such as grass or a mat. If you have a trampoline, ensure that it has a safety net and that it is used by only one child at a time. Remember trampolines should not be used by children under six years of age.

For more information, residents in the Belfast City Council area can contact our Home Safety team on 028 9091 8715 or visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/gardensafety. Residents outside Belfast should contact the relevant local council.

It is estimated that more than 200,000 people go to A&E in the UK each year after being injured doing DIY, maintenance or gardening at home.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, (RoSPA), the top ten most dangerous garden tools are:

1 Lawnmowers, (6,500 accidents in the UK each year);
2 Flowerpots (5,300);
3 Secateurs and pruners (4,400);
4 Spades (3,600)
5 Electric hedge trimmers (3,100);
6 Plant tubs and troughs (2,800);
7 Shears (2,100);
8 Garden forks (2,000);
9 Hoses and sprinklers (1,900);
10 Garden canes and sticks (1,800).

Many of the mower accidents happen when people cut themselves cleaning the blades, while lots of people trip over flowerpots or are injured moving them.

Men have more accidents in the garden than women and, apart from children, people aged 30 to 60 are most likely to come a cropper.

The most common accident in a garden is a fall (115,000), but the biggest threat to people actually gardening is a cut (19,000), then falls (18,000) and being struck by things (12,600).
A garden shed