Backyard safety tips

May 7, 2014



More and more, people are vacationing in their own backyards. If you have turned yours into a “staycation” hot spot, consider these safety tips to help keep your oasis fun and free of danger.

The Pool
The pool can be a refreshing way to get some relief from the hot sun. But it can also be dangerous. Every year, many people drown or are injured in pools. Be safety conscious:

  • Install self-closing and self-latching gates.
  • Equip your door, gate or pool with an alarm.
  • Check your pool’s anti-entrapment drain covers to make sure they are compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act). Please visit for additional information on the P&SS Act.
  • Make sure no one swims alone.
  • Less experienced swimmers should always be accompanied by a swimmer who has water life-saving skills.
  • Have life-saving equipment nearby, such as a rope with life-saving rings, a reaching pole or rescue hook.
  • Keep the pool area clear of glass bottles, toys or other potential accident hazards.
  • Be sure CD players, radios and other electrical devices are away from pools or wet surfaces.

The Grill
During warmer months, you might enjoy having a backyard barbecue. But according to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills have been involved in an average of 7,100 home fires per year from 2006 – 2010, while charcoal or other solid-fuel grills were involved in an average of 1,200 home fires per year. Take precautions:

  • Keep barbecue grills on a level surface away from the house, garage, landscaping and children.
  • Wear a heavy apron and use a long-armed oven mitt to protect yourself.
  • Let the coals cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container.
  • Remember that grills remain hot long after you are through barbecuing.

Trampolines can be fun for kids, but according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimate, they were the cause of more than 83,000 injuries that resulted in emergency room visits in 2011 alone. Avoid being a statistic:

  • Limit the number of jumpers to one at a time.
  • Supervision is needed for children at all times.
  • Establish and enforce rules before use.
  • Remove trampoline ladders after use to prevent unsupervised access by young children.
  • Anchor the trampoline and enclosure to the ground by using a trampoline anchor kit.

Play Sets
Play sets can be enjoyed by children of all ages, but damaged or weather-worn play sets can cause accidents. Stay safe by:

  • Supervising children.
  • Regularly checking for sturdiness, rusty bolts and wood rot, and making necessary repairs.
  • Ensuring play sets do not have openings between pieces that could trap a child’s head or neck.
  • Placing play sets securely on level ground and on wood chips or other soft materials to cushion falls and help prevent injuries.

Fire Pits
Warm nights are the perfect time to roast marshmallows. But out-of-control fires or sitting too close to flames can cause injury and major damage. 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 before disposing of them in a metal container.

Lawn mowers
During the spring and summer months, many maintain their property by mowing their lawn. However, serious injury can occur if lawn mowers are used improperly. Follow these tips for safety:

  • Read the mower’s manual, heed safety and operating instructions and learn the controls.
  • Children should be at least 12 years old before operating a push lawn mower, and age 16 to operate a driving lawn mower.
  • Do not allow children to ride as passengers on a lawn mower, and be sure to keep children out of the yard while mowing.
  • Clean up toys and other objects, such as rocks, from the yard to help prevent injuries from flying objects.
  • Never leave a running mower unattended.
  • Never operate the mower in an enclosed place where carbon monoxide can collect.
  • Never unclog or work on a lawn mower while the engine is on or when the spark plug is connected; doing this puts the user at risk for being injured by the blade.
  • Wear non-slip shoes, long pants and ear plugs for protection.

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