BACKYARD FUN AND SAFETYBesides pools, backyard playgrounds and grilling equipment are two other areas where attention to safety is critical to avoiding injuries. Fortunately, most injuries are minor, but it doesn’t take much for a serious accident to occur. Here are some tips to make sure your family and little friends have a safe experience at your home.
- Regularly check the condition of all playground equipment for rusted, rotted, loose or otherwise damaged components or sharp edges.
- Make sure playground equipment is age appropriate. Provide suitable supervision.
- Ensure that there is a soft, hazard-free surface under and around all playground equipment. At least 9 inches of a base material extending out six feet is advised.
- Avoid using swings and other moving components that present a higher risk of injury.
- Check for entrapment hazards from gaps in the equipment that are either too small or “v-shaped,” which could allow a child or child’s clothing to get trapped or caught, causing strangulation. Also remove any damaged or loose hanging ropes.
- Make sure rails on elevated areas are secure and not spaced too far apart presenting a fall hazard, or too close together causing an entrapment hazard.
- Make sure all electrical components are installed to code and in good condition. Do not allow the use of any electric-powered devices around the pool.
- Gasoline and propane should only be stored outside in approved containers in good condition.
- Make sure the gas grill is on a level surface and all components are in good condition. Check periodically for loose or damaged burners, grates, handles, and hinges.
- Separate the grilling area from the eating or play areas and make sure the grill has adequate clearance from trees and shrubs, deck railings and the house. A grill can get hot enough to melt vinyl siding even several feet away.
- Check the gas lines for leaks each time a new tank is installed. Do not attempt to light burners or strike a match if the odor of gas is present.
- Turn off the gas valve on the tank after every use.
- Bugs can take up residence in the gas burner components, especially if the grill has not been used for a while, blocking or upsetting the gas flow and creating a fire and/or burn hazard. Be particularly cautious if there are spider webs and other insect activity in the area of the grill.
- Do not allow children to use a grill and make sure children are kept away from the grill area until it has cooled down.
For more safety recommendations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) go to Home Playground Safety and Grill Safety Tips.
Note: These tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at www.housemaster.com.