Backyard entertaining beckons its own set of safety risks—from fire pits to trampolines. Follow these five tips to keep your home oasis danger free for family and friends.
- Take precautions with playsets. As with a trampoline, check your playset regularly for rusty bolts and any openings that could trap a child’s head or neck. If your playset is not currently on top of soft materials such as wood chips, consider placing it on soft material to cushion any potential falls and help prevent injuries. Be sure to supervise children.
- Guard garden water features. Fish ponds, waterfalls and fountains create a wonderful backyard ambience, however they can be a drowning hazard to children who are naturally attracted to them. Adult supervision is needed near water features because children can drown in as little as two inches of water. As an alternative, if you can’t constantly monitor yours, use a rigid, lockable cover or a fence that surrounds the water feature similar to as you would with a swimming pool. Be sure to keep water treatment chemicals away from children.
- Turn to the trampoline. You may be surprised to learn that trampolines are the cause of nearly 100,000 injuries each year according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Weather-worn trampolines, in particular, can be very dangerous so it’s best to supervise children while thy play. Using trampoline enclosures, limiting the number of jumpers and anchoring the trampoline with a kit will help keep jumpers safe. When not in use, remove the ladder to prevent small children from climbing up and jumping without supervision.
- Leave the lawn mower turned off and store in a safe place. If you haven’t read your owner’s manual, be sure to do so and pay particular attention to the operating and safety instructions. Never allow children to ride as passengers on a riding mower. In fact, keep them a safe distance away while you mow if possible. Never leave a running mower unattended or turned on in an enclosed area—such as your garage, because carbon monoxide can accumulate which is extremely dangerous. It’s best to protect your ears and eyes as well. Lastly, never unclog or work on your lawn mower while the engine is on or the spark plug is connected.
- Don’t forget the fire pit. Making memories and S’mores around the fire pit is fun for the entire family as long as proper precautions are taken. If your fire pit is not currently placed in a safe spot away from your home, consider moving it. An ideal location is also void of any low-hanging tree branches and a safe distance away from your deck. Adult supervision is required whenever the fire pit is in use and until it has completely cooled off. It’s best to use sand to fully extinguish the fire and once the coals have cooled, dispose of them in a metal container stored far away from children.