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Many pond keepers worry about the relationship between their pond and the children that come into contact with it, and rightly so!
Learning to keep your children safe around your pond (and often, keeping your pond safe around the children) is something we should always take seriously, and so here’s a few pointers to avoid disaster and ensure the enjoyment of your garden in a safe manner.
Children should always be supervised around your pond, allowing you to intervene at any given moment should your child’s behaviour give you cause for concern.
If you are unable to supervise your child and intervene within an instant, its best to keep your child away from the pond altogether until they are old enough – sadly, it’s the only sure way to keep them safe!
As the child becomes older, we recommend supervised and educational visits to the pond. It must be made clear to the child in terms they can understand that they are only to approach the pond when they are holding your hand, or when you say that it’s ok to take a look.
During these visits to the pond, it’s best to remind them of the rules, and to always ask permission before they go. Make sure to thank them for asking your permission first, with positive reinforcement being shown to trump negative reinforcement every time.
Take the time to explain how your pond works, and later get them to explain it to another adult too, giving you a chance to check that they know how everything works. Initially, your pond will be an inviting mystery for your child, and therefore more dangerous as they quest to discover how the pond works and what is in it. But as they learn under your watchful care, the mystery will become less inviting, reducing the risk of an unscheduled visit in your absence.
If the fascination proves too much, some pond keepers often make a smaller, safer pond that their child can enjoy under supervision, often augmented with a small fountain to make it more attractive. Supervision is still required just as heavily though, but the dangers slightly less.
As well as imposing imaginary barriers (such as a point in the garden, marked by a tree which they must not cross) to avoid them reaching the pond in the first place, it may be necessary to create some physical barriers to your pond.
There are a range of wire fences that can be bought cheaply to provide a safe and secure barrier that your child will struggle to get across, or at least buy you some time should they make an attempt.
Strong mesh pond covers are also a viable option, easily placed when you know your child is likely to be around to keep the pond safer.
For some, filling in the pond for the time being is the safest way and the first choice. As sad as it is, know that you can quickly rebuild it again later when the child is old enough.