Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why Leaf Jumping May NOT Be Such A Good Idea

Growing up, I remember the utter joy I experienced jumping in piles of leaves. I loved the “crunch, crunch” sound, the softness of the leaves themselves, and just the idea of jumping INTO something. Now, I know leaf jumping is a ritual of Fall and I hate to put a damper on it, but there are some major downsides into letting your kids jump into piles of leaves:

  • Ticks

    Think it's too cold for ticks? Think again! Through October into mid-November, ticks are still alive and well. In fact, a few years ago, after a particularly cold October, Junior came home from a camping trip with a large tick attached under his arm. That large pile you just raked up could be harboring these blood-suckers, especially the disease-carrying deer ticks.

    Ticks LOVE leaf piles!

  • Animal Poop

    I live in an area with a lot of critters, including deer. While I love the beauty of these animals, I am not fond of their poop, which they do everywhere including amongst the leaves.  And I won't even get started on the prospect of finding dog poop in a pile!  Disgusting!

  • Sticks And Stones

    Kids tend to jump into leaf piles with abandon. A friend's kid recently jumped into a bunch of leaves and narrowly missed an eye injury.

Unless you're going to inspect EVERY INCH of a leaf pile, you're risking your children encountering the above. Still, if you're hell-bent on allowing your child to jump into one, take these precautions:

  • Make sure your child is protected by covering up as much skin as possible. That means tucking pants into socks and making sure they're wearing long-sleeves.
  • Use a bug-repellant spray, even over their clothes, to prevent ticks.
  • Check them as soon as they get out of the leaf pile to make sure they're clean.
  • Before bedtime, check them for ticks. Remember that these insects love warm, dark places like the back of knees and underarms.

Fall has many rituals: pumpkin and apple picking, decorating for Halloween, drinking apple cider. For safety's sake, you may want to consider giving up leaf jumping. 


For more on ticks, click here ( And for instructions on how to remove a tick, click here (



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