With the warm weather comes the overwhelming desire to get outside and into the sunshine. Before you tear the kids away from their televisions and video games and urge them out into the fresh air, though, you’ll want to make sure that the backyard is the safe haven for fun and games that it’s supposed to be. These 12 tips can help you eliminate common backyard hazards so that your family can enjoy the beautiful weather without fear of injury.
- Kid-Proof Your Swing Set – As soon as the weather allows, your little ones will make a beeline for that swing set in the backyard. Before you let them go to town, make sure that it’s in good shape and is safe for them to play on by giving it a thorough inspection. Any protruding bolts or nails should be repaired, the ground should be covered with a shock-absorbing material and any rusty equipment needs to be replaced.
- Put a Locked Cover on Your Spa – Hot tubs are a wonderful way to relax, but they can be very dangerous for small children. To make sure that a curious youngster isn’t able to gain access to your spa, invest in a locking cover that you keep in place at all times the spa isn’t being used.
- Consider Ditching the Trampoline – The American Academy of Pediatrics’ position on trampolines is very clear: don’t let kids near them. There are things you can do to make a trampoline marginally safer, but nothing will take away from the fact that the contraptions are inherently dangerous.
- Fence in Your Pool – If the backyard houses a swimming pool, springing for a fence that’s at least five feet tall and impossible to climb is a smart move. Even if you don’t have children of your own, swimming pools can be irresistibly alluring to little ones that could meet a tragic fate if they tumble into the pool and there’s no one around to rescue them.
- Invest in Rescue Equipment – Just as you’ll want to make sure that your swimming pool has a kid-proof fence around it, you’ll also want to invest in a few life preservers and other emergency equipment to ensure that you’re always prepared should the unthinkable happen.
- Double-Check the Placement of Your Grill – When your grill isn’t being used during the winter months, it’s not uncommon for it to be moved or shifted to the side a bit. Before you fire it up for the first celebratory barbecue of the season, though, you’ll want to make sure that it’s clear of any low-hanging branches or structures that could go up in flames if the grill gets out of control.
- Look for Poisonous Plants – There are a variety of attractive and hardy plants that present a deadly risk to kids and pets, so you’ll need to brush up on the plant life your landscaping design is harboring. Make sure that none of them are poisonous and that any questionable specimens are removed.
- Clear Away Debris – Winter winds, storms and snow can create a pile of debris on your lawn, and each piece can present a tripping hazard for kids and adults alike. Before letting the kids and pets loose for a jaunt in the sunshine, give the property a good once-over that includes the clearing away of last season’s debris.
- Eliminate Standing Water – Mosquitoes can breed in shockingly small pools of stagnant water and can carry a variety of diseases that cause very real health complications. Make sure that birdbaths and other standing-water features are changed regularly, and that stagnant water sources are eliminated as mosquito breeding grounds.
- Inspect Your Deck – Your deck will need a coat of water sealant and protectant on a regular basis, but the harsh elements of winter can still damage even a treated deck. Make sure that there are no splinters, cracks or protruding nails that can injure bare feet before the shoeless season begins.
- Scout for Infestations – Wasps’ and bees’ nests are no laughing matter. Make sure that you eliminate any sources of potential infestation, especially if a member of the family suffers from insect sting allergies.
- Put Away the Power Tools – It’s easy to leave a piece of equipment lying out when you’re taking a short break from spring repairs and cleaning, but those power tools can be more dangerous than the hazards you’re using them to repair. Make sure that you never leave tools unattended, especially if there are children on the property.
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