Summer is a great time to get the family outside to play, eat, and relax in the yard. But while you’d expect your backyard to be a safe haven for you and those you love, hazards can exist that put your family members or pets at risk. Take a look around your yard for these issues, then take the necessary steps to keep your family safe this summer.
Check the Deck for Structural Weakness
Your deck is likely to be a gathering place for friends and family in the spring, summer, and fall. Unfortunately, your deck can deteriorate over time due to exposure to the elements and natural wear and tear. You may be able to tell if there is structural weakness by simply walking across it. If your deck has any give to it while you walk on it, it probably needs some structural repairs. Also, look underneath the deck to make sure that all joist hangers, post connections, and ledger boards are intact and secure.
Practice Safety Around Fire Pits and Grills
Whether you’re gathered around one to roast marshmallows or tell spooky stories, a fire pit can be a fun addition to any backyard. To make sure that your family is safe around the fire pit, set it up at least 10 feet from any structure and never under a covered porch or low-hanging tree branches. The same rules apply for grills. It’s also a good idea to teach young children not to run around the fire pit or grill to reduce their risk of burn injuries.
Monitor Children Around Pools and Water Sources
Pools, backyard ponds, and other water sources can pose a danger to small children. Be sure to always keep a good eye on children when they are in the backyard around water. Ideally, you should have a secure fence around these hazards. It can also be helpful to have your children take swim lessons. Children as young as 4 years old can be taught to swim.
Remove Plants and Flowers That Are Toxic to Pets
Certain plants and flowers that appear harmless could actually pose a danger to your pets. Check your garden and flower beds for plants that have been deemed toxic to animals, such as daffodils, tulips, certain types of lilies, and crocus plants. Fertilizers commonly used in gardens and flower beds can also cause gastrointestinal problems if consumed by your pets.
Store Lawn Mowers and Other Tools in a Safe Place
Lawn mowers and other common outdoor tools often contain sharp or hazardous components that could lead to injury if handled by a young child. Containers of toxic liquids like gasoline can also cause serious illness or even death if consumed. Be sure to store these types of supplies in a safe place out of reach of children, such as in a secure storage shed or garage.
Inspect Swings and Other Outdoor Play Equipment
From swing sets and trampolines to slides and playhouses, if you have small children, you probably have a few pieces of play equipment in your backyard. To keep this equipment safe for your kids, be sure to inspect it on a regular basis and make repairs when needed. Look for issues like rusty bolts, wood rot, loose railings, or areas where insects may have created an infestation.