Backyards were made for carefree summer days, family BBQs and dinners al fresca. Unfortunately, they’re also the site of many summertime injuries. Use this summer safety list to assess your backyard for potential hazards and make the required fixes.
Here are 9 hidden dangers in your backyard.
1. Swimming Pools
Children can drown in 1 inch of water, so never leave kids unattended in or near water. Experts recommend fencing backyard swimming pools with a fence at least 4 ft high that has a self-latching, self-closing gate. Repair any missing or broken drain or suction covers to prevent accidental entrapment. Hot tubs should be locked when not in use and have a hard cover. Finally, be sure to empty and turn over kiddie pools when not in use, as they’re a drowning hazard.
Check your fence line for damage and repair as necessary. To protect kids from getting their head or body parts stuck in the fence, be sure gaps between fence slates and railings are less than 3.5” wide.
Many experts agree that trampolines pose a high risk of injury to children and youth. Injuries include broken bones, dislocations, concussions, and neck and back injuries. Safety nets don’t always help because kids are often hurt by getting thrown around while jumping in groups (a similar phenomenon in bounce houses). Safety measures for trampoline use include a rule of one-at-a-time use, adult supervision at all times, safety padding on the frame, routine equipment maintenance, and hazard-free surroundings.
4. Garden Tools
Maintain and repair garden tools, throwing out any that are damaged or broken. Keep children away from sharp tools, preferably by locking tools in a secure area. Tools can carry a great number of bacteria, so the risk of tetanus is high. Protect yourself when using tools by wearing gloves and necessary safety gear.
5. The Grill
If your grill was idle through the winter, do a thorough inspection, paying special attention to connections and hoses, and look for any leaks, breakages, blocks, or holes. Keep children away from the grill and be sure to always have a fire extinguisher nearby. Finally, never leave it unattended while cooking — grills and barbeques cause about 10,600 home fires every year.
6. Patios & The Deck
If your deck is wood, check for rotted or loose boards or railings. Brick and stone patios should be checked for broken or loose pieces. Check concrete for chips and cracks; and metal for rust, corrosion, and sharp edges.
7. Weak Tree Branches
If you didn’t get a chance to trim your trees in the spring, make sure you do so asap! Look for broken or splintered branches – when they’re weak, they’re very hazardous. Also trim any dead or diseased limbs (the latter can spread disease throughout the tree), and any that were damaged by winter storms. Ditto for branches over power lines.
Don’t apply them when children or pets are nearby, and allow plenty of time for them to dry. Follow instructions and don’t apply more than the recommended amount. Avoid spraying on windy days. Wear long sleeves, pants, and eye protection when applying them, and be sure to wash your hands afterward. Store pesticides and any chemicals in a secure, locked area.
9. The Lawnmower
A 13-year study by the Journal of AAOS has highlighted the need for improved safety awareness of lawnmower dangers — especially in rural populations — as well as the significant number of injuries sustained by children. Teach your kids that lawnmowers are not toys (and don’t take them “on rides” on the mower). Besides collision risk, children are susceptible to burns from hot mower parts, and airborne debris kicked up by the mower. Keep kids out of the yard while mowing.
Taking the steps to get your backyard in summer shape will pay off in the form of good times, sweet memories, and a family safe from needless harm.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.