The Safety of Washed Rock for Children and Pets

At Kilgore Landscape Center, we understand that creating a beautiful and functional outdoor space is not just about aesthetics; it's also about safety, especially when it comes to your children and pets. One popular choice of landscaping material is washed rock. It’s smooth, round edges make them less likely to cause injury. Unlike rough and irregular stones, this rock's smooth surface can be safer to walk on, especially for children and pets. In this article, we'll explore the various aspects of using this rock in your landscaping and address concerns related to the well-being of your loved ones.

Use and Purpose

  1. Definition

Washed rock, also known as washed stone or clean stone, is a landscaping material that has undergone a thorough cleaning process to remove impurities and debris. It is often used for a variety of outdoor applications, such as driveways, pathways, and decorative features, due to its natural and polished appearance.

  1. Types

There are several types available, including pea gravel, river rock, and crushed stone. Each type offers unique aesthetic qualities, making it a versatile choice for different landscaping projects. 

Child Safety

One of the primary concerns for parents and caregivers is whether their rocks are safe for children to play on. Washed rock is generally considered safe for children when used in appropriate areas. However, some factors need to be taken into account:

  1. Size and Shape: This rock is an excellent choice for play areas and pathways. Its smooth surface reduces the risk of tripping and falling, making it an ideal material for spaces where children play or where pets roam. Its uniform texture provides stability and comfort underfoot.

  1. Reduced Ice Build-Up: In colder climates, the drainage capabilities of these rocks can prove to be a valuable safety feature. Unlike solid surfaces like concrete or asphalt that can become icy in freezing temperatures, its drainage properties help prevent the formation of dangerous ice patches, making it safer for pedestrians and vehicles.

  1. Proper Installation: Ensure that the rock is properly installed and contained within designated areas to minimize the risk of spreading and causing tripping hazards. Moreover, it is always important to supervise children during play to minimize risk of accidents.

Pet Safety

Pets are also an important consideration when using washed rock in your landscape. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Paw Comfort: Larger, smoother rocks are more comfortable for pets to walk on, so consider their comfort when selecting the type of rock for your outdoor space.

  1. Ingestion Risk: Some pets may be curious and might chew or ingest small stones. To prevent this, choose larger rock sizes that are less likely to be swallowed.

  1. Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect the area with rocks to ensure there are no loose or dislodged stones that could pose a hazard to pets.

Choosing the Right Type of Washed Rock

  1. Pea Gravel

Pea gravel is a popular choice for its small, rounded stones. While it can be visually appealing and comfortable underfoot, it may not be the best option for households with young children due to its smaller size.

  1. River Rock

River rock, characterized by its smooth, rounded appearance, is a safer option for children and pets. Its larger size and lack of sharp edges reduce the risk of injury and choking hazards.

  1. Crushed Stone

Crushed stone, often used for driveways and pathways, can vary in size and texture. It may be less suitable for play areas but can work well in areas where children and pets are less likely to frequent.

Installation Tips for Safety

  1. Proper Containment

To ensure the safety of children and pets, it's essential to contain the washed rock within designated areas. This can be achieved by using edging materials such as timber, stone, or metal borders to create defined boundaries.

  1. Weed Barriers

To prevent weed growth and maintain a clean play area, consider installing a weed barrier fabric beneath the rocks. This not only reduces the need for chemical herbicides but also minimizes the risk of children and pets coming into contact with potential allergens.

  1. Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping your rock area safe. Periodically inspect the area for loose or dislodged stones, and promptly address any issues to prevent tripping hazards.

Health Concerns and Allergies

  1. Allergens

One concern related to the use of rock is allergens that may be present in the stones or the surrounding environment. It's important to note that while some people may have allergies to specific minerals or particles found in rocks, the risk of allergenic reactions is relatively low for most individuals.

  1. Respiratory Health

Another consideration is the potential for dust or airborne particles when working with rocks. To minimize dust, it's advisable to wet down the rock during installation and take precautions, such as wearing a dust mask if necessary.

Other Uses of Washed Rock

  1. Water Features

These rocks are often used in water features, such as ponds and fountains, to create visually appealing and functional elements in your landscape. When used in water features, safety concerns related to children and pets should be assessed, and appropriate precautions should be taken.

  1. Erosion Control

This kind of rock is an effective material for erosion control on slopes and embankments. Properly installed, it can help stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, ensuring the safety of your landscape.


In conclusion, washed rock is a versatile and aesthetically pleasing landscaping material that can be safe for both children and pets when used thoughtfully. By selecting the right type, ensuring proper installation, and conducting regular maintenance, you can enjoy the beauty of these rocks in your landscape while providing a safe environment for your loved ones.

At Kilgore Landscape Center, we offer a wide selection of products and expert advice to help you make informed choices for your landscaping projects. Remember, safety is a top priority, and with the right precautions, you can create a beautiful and secure outdoor space for your family and pets to enjoy.