Is Your Backyard Safe?

Ah, summer. The kids are cartwheeling in the backyard, the neighbors are playing on the swing set, the smell of summertime cocktails and BBQs fill the air. What could go wrong? Well, that idyllic scene is full of many safety hazards – with everything from poison ivy to potholes!

Use this backyard safety checklist to make sure your backyard is secure, and then enjoy the summer fun knowing your friends and family are safe!

  1. Patio maintenance. Many patios are ignored for the majority of the year, and then when summer rolls around, we expect them to do their job without realizing they need a little TLC.
    • Wooden decks are susceptible to water damage. Look for any warped or rotting boards that need replacing.
    • Brick or stone patios can experience broken tiles, crumbling bricks or missing grout that can quickly turn into a safety hazard if not mended.
    • All patios and decks should have treatments and seals applied regularly. Check with your local home improvement store to identify the right one for your outdoor space.
  2. Poisonous plants and pesticides. Whether you’re hiking on a path or just working around the yard, it’s important to be aware of the many toxic plants throughout the U.S. – as well as the poisonous chemicals that might be right in your garden shed. Here’s what to lookout for:
    • Poison ivy might be the most common poisonous plant, but there are some others you should get familiar with as well, like oleander, European yew and white snakeroot.
    • If you treat your lawn with herbicides or pesticides, make sure kids and pets are indoors. Store both nontoxic and toxic pesticides and herbicides in an area inaccessible to your kids and pets in locked storage containers.
  3. Playground safety. Scraped knees are a normal part of being a kid, but play sets can be full of hazards that create threatening injuries and should be checked regularly.
    • Bees and wasps love creating nests in playground equipment – especially if it’s wood-based. You should check regularly for these potentially dangerous nests, as well as any loose bolts, railings or rotting wood to remove, tighten or repair before giving your kids the go-ahead to play all day.
    • Heat can be another danger. If you don’t have an awning or playground canopy, be aware the equipment can heat up enough during the day to cause burns in the summer months, especially slides and swings.
    • Trampolines are a fun summer activity, but to ensure the safety of jumpers, trampolines should always be anchored down, and have secured padding and hole-free, fray-free netting.
  4. Potholes. Uneven sidewalks or steep hills can turn a lovely day in the sun into a day at the emergency room. Make sure to check your yard regularly for potholes and other hazards.
  5. Pool safety. We have an entire blog post on pool safety, but we had to squeeze in this extra reminder because pool safety should be a top priority for everyone this summer. Recently we came across an article on top pool safety products, which include items like this pool alarm to make your pool experience even safer.

Now get back to grilling, swimming, sipping and cartwheeling!