Kids gardening plant

Exploring Nature Safely: Gardening Tips With Kids

Teaching kids gardening has much more than nutritional benefits. It also helps promote family bonding and teaches children about different plants.

Alicia Beltran, a research dietitian at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor, shares that teaching gardening to kids offers a comprehensive experience. It enables them to bond with their families and acquire accurate knowledge about different plants.

Additionally, Beltran suggests starting with a modest gardening approach. For beginners, she recommends starting with leafy greens and herbs like kale or lettuce, as they are easy to plant and have a quick growth rate. If you have limited space, growing herbs in pots is a good option. 

However, if you have the capacity for a bigger project, such as a gardening bed, it provides an opportunity to teach children about seasonally appropriate plants they can cultivate.

All of this can sound exciting and interesting. But it is necessary to exercise cautionary measures when it comes to gardening, as it involves the use of pesticides, which can pose risks to the health of both children and adults.

In an article discussing pesticide-induced ailments by “Beyond Pesticides,” it is reported that over 25 million people in the United States have asthma. Additionally, more than 14 million individuals have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and there are many individuals battling lung cancer. Pesticide exposure has increased the occurrence of these respiratory pathologies. Weedkillers, in particular, are known to cause ailments in children, highlighting the need for caution.

Exploring Nature Safely: Gardening Tips With Kids

Gardening With Kids: The Essential Safety Guidelines

Gardening might appear to be a safe hobby, but there are scopes of illness and injury. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that over 400,000 injuries occur annually owing to outdoor garden tools.

Dr. David Lichtman, who is a Texas-based orthopedic surgeon, says just because gardening with kids appears to be a relaxing activity, doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t focus on safety.


The essential safety guidelines to follow are:

Choosing Kid-Friendly Plants

Strictly avoid poisonous plants that can cause skin irritation. Some obvious choices to steer clear of are foxgloves, daffodils, and lilies of the valley. Additionally, there are less common plant variants to be cautious of, such as Daphne, which has poisonous berries, and Euphorbia, whose stems release white sap that acts as a skin irritant when touched. It is also important to avoid delphinium, mistletoe, laburnum, rhubarb leaves, and cherry laurel.

When choosing plants, opt for safe options like tomatoes and strawberries. Plants near the lawn should be resilient to withstand being trampled by footballs and feet. A few sturdy options include Escallonia, Crocosmia, Elaeagnus, and ornamental grasses. 

Refraining From Using Roundup

The weedkiller Roundup, which contains glyphosate, has adverse effects on children. 

In March 2023, the UC Berkeley School of Public Health reported that childhood exposure to glyphosate leads to metabolic disorders and liver inflammation in early adulthood. Furthermore, it might cause diabetes, liver cancer, and cardiovascular ailments later in life.

A recent study involving 480 mother-child pairs from the Salinas Valley, California, known as “The World’s Salad Bowl,” was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, which is affiliated with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. 

The study findings revealed a link between elevated levels of glyphosate residue and AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid) in urine during childhood and adolescence, which increased the risk of liver inflammation and metabolic disorders in early adulthood.

Families who have used RoundUp while gardening and have observed their kids suffering from health hazards may consider filing a lawsuit to seek the desired compensation. Once the medical concerns have been addressed, it is crucial to consult with the best lawyer for a Roundup lawsuit to pursue compensation for pain, suffering, and damages.

According to TorHoerman Law, individuals diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) or any other ailment due to Roundup exposure have the option to file a lawsuit. However, the average settlement for such cases is determined by factors such as the individual’s claim, damages, injuries, and medical expenses incurred. 

It is advisable to file a lawsuit as soon as there is medical proof before the statute of limitations expires. The statute of limitations typically ranges from 2 to 3 years from the date of diagnosis, but may vary depending on the state of residence.

Boy pot plant

Use Garden Gloves

Ensure that you select garden gloves for your kids that have a protective rubber coating. This will help prevent burns that could result from pesticides, fertilisers, and scrapes from sharp objects. Additionally, it will protect against bacteria, fungi, and various poisonous plants in the yard. Moreover, gloves will also keep your child safe from tetanus.

Be Careful of Pests

After gardening, make sure that you check your child’s body and their clothes for ticks. These pests can cling to their clothes and then burrow into their skin, leading to blisters and irritation. It is important to choose an insect repellent to stay secure from pests and also prevent insect bites.

Finally, it is best to use a surgical mask to protect your airway and eyes from pollen, dust, dirt, and large particles found in the garden.

Conclusion

Gardening can be fun and exciting for your kids, provided you exercise the necessary caution. Often, parents don’t realise that the herbicide or pesticide they use can affect their kids, even if they don’t come in contact with it directly.

Once you understand how to create a safe garden space for your kids, you can make the most of the activity and ensure that your kid’s health doesn’t get affected in any way. Kids will want to take part in gardening, as it helps in their physical and mental development and equips them with better know-how about plants as they grow up.

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