[Article compliments of Travelers.com]
Backyard entertaining has gotten more elaborate in recent years. Fire pits are helping homeowners extend the backyard season, and today’s playsets involve more than a simple set of swings and a slide. Whether backyard entertaining means spending time by the swimming pool or gathered around the grill, here are some safety tips to help keep your oasis fun and free of danger.
Garden Water Features
Fish ponds, waterfalls and other water features can add a note of serenity to the backyard. They are also particularly attractive to young children, and can be a drowning hazard if proper protective steps are not put in place:
- Children may drown in as little as an inch or two of water. An adult should watch children at all times when in or near water.
- Use a rigid, lockable cover or fence in all four sides as you would for a swimming pool.
- Tightly cover water treatment or chemical mixtures after use.
Trampolines can be fun for kids, but according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, they are the cause of nearly 100,000 injuries each year. Avoid being a statistic:
- Limit the number of jumpers to one at a time.
- Supervision is needed for children at all times.
- Remove trampoline ladders after use to prevent unsupervised access by young children.
- Trampoline enclosures can help prevent injuries from falls from trampolines.
- Anchor the trampoline and enclosure to the ground by using a trampoline anchor kit.
Playsets can be enjoyed by children of all ages, but damaged or weather-worn playsets can cause accidents. Stay safe by:
- Supervising children.
- Regularly checking for sturdiness, rusty bolts and wood rot, and making necessary repairs.
- Inspecting playsets for openings between pieces that could trap a child’s head or neck.
- Placing playsets securely on level ground and on wood chips or other soft materials to cushion falls and help prevent injuries.
Warm nights are the perfect time to roast marshmallows. But inadequate supervision or improper use of fire pits can cause injury. Be smart:
- Place the fire pit in a safe spot away from your home, backyard deck or low-hanging tree branches.
- Always require adult supervision around the fire pit while it is in use and until it has cooled off.
- Never leave the fire unattended.
- Use sand to fully extinguish the fire.
- Let the coals cool completely and dispose of them in a metal container.
Lawn mowers can easily cause injury. Follow these tips for safety:
- Read the mower’s manual, heed safety and operating instructions and learn the controls.
- Do not allow children to ride as passengers on a riding lawn mower, and keep children a safe distance away, and preferably, out of the yard altogether while mowing.
- Clean up toys and other objects, such as rocks, from the yard to help prevent injuries to you, your loved ones, and pets due to flying objects.
- Never leave a running mower unattended.
- Never operate the mower in an enclosed place where carbon monoxide can accumulate.
- Never unclog or work on a lawn mower while the engine is on or when the spark plug is connected.
- Wear non-slip shoes or boots (no open toes or heels), and hearing and eye protection. It is also preferable to wear long pants while mowing and/or trimming your lawn.