For many of us who rent or own property, our backyard is a go-to spot for relaxation, playtime, and entertaining. Having a yard can definitely serve as a bit of a sanctuary. That said, it’s important to acknowledge that backyards are home to quite a few hazards too. If you’ve ever wondered “what can I do to make my backyard safer?” this is the post for you! Here are some tips for keeping yourself, your family, and your guests safe while soaking up summer.
1. Sturdy Stairs
Do you have an exterior staircase? If you have stairs leading from the deck to your backyard, scope them out every season to make sure that wear and tear haven’t compromised their safety. To prevent tripping, always fix any boards that are lifting, loose, or rotting right away. If you don’t have a handrail on your stairs, add one.
2. Level Pavers
Make sure no one trips on uneven paving stones. Hopefully you’ve hired the right professional landscaper from the start, but if you suspect that your pavers were poorly installed, here are some possible solutions.
3. Ample Lighting
While you’re making sure everyone in your yard is on solid footing, it’s also a good time to assess your lighting situation. Make sure that all walkways and paths are clearly visible at night time. Keep your energy bill reasonable by using a combination of solar lights and motion-activated lighting.
4. Swimming Pool Safety
Backyard pools are especially dangerous for young children. In Canada, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death in children one to four years old. When it comes to swimming safety, nothing takes the place of immediate adult supervision. When your pool isn’t in use, prevent accidents by locking doors and windows that lead to the pool, and take the ladder out. Even certain pool steps, and covers with built-in safety mechanisms have been known to fail. This demonstrates the need for multiple layers of security. Learn more about the latest technology designed to let you know when someone is near or in your pool.
5. Hot Tub Safety
Hot tubs present similar safety hazards for young children as pools do, and they may give the false impression of being safer, because they are more shallow, but that’s simply false. Treat hot tubs with equal concern, do not allow children to enter them without adult supervision, and make sure that the lid is securely locked when not in use. If it’s hot tubbing time for the grown ups, keep your soak to a time limit of 15 minutes or less. Call it quits if you’re feeling dizzy or lightheaded. Never take glassware or glass bottles in with you–if one breaks, you could end up dealing with a serious injury, or at the very least, a tedious clean-up.
6. Take Extra Care with Grills and Firepits
Backyard barbecues are a delicious part of summertime, and outdoor fire pits are a popular landscape feature that add ambiance on a cool summer’s night. Since they both involve the use of fire, caution is always necessary. Take a moment to brush up on barbecuing safety in our recent guide to safer grilling. If you have a fire pit in your backyard, whether it’s state-of-the-art or simple, keeping the fire small is one of the best ways to avert a disaster. You don’t want to be dealing with a big bonfire if something goes wrong. If you’re deciding where to place a fire pit, it should be as far from your house as possible, and at least 10 feet away from any structure or flammable surfaces (decks, sheds, etc.) Before you begin, make sure there isn’t a fire ban in effect, and consider wind conditions. If it’s a windy night, you could risk embers blowing around, which is extremely dangerous.
7. Toss the Trampoline (sorry)
Since 2000 there’s been an increase in trampoline casualties and severe injuries in Canada–to the point where many doctors are calling to ban them from backyards. Most of these injuries are occurring when there is one than one person on the trampoline at a time. Emergency room doctors urge those who have a trampoline but are unwilling to give it up not to allow children under the age of six to use them. We would urge you to put safety first, and forgo them in the backyard completely. At absolute minimum, always use close adult supervision.
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