With school out and temperatures rising, families are spending more time outdoors—grilling, chilling, or just running around and having fun. Here are some backyard summer safety tips to keep the summer fun … fun.
Backyard summer safety and grills
Make sure all connection points between the propane tank hose and the regulator—as well as where the hose connects to the burners—are secure. To check for leaks, use a spray bottle to apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. Turn the propane tank on. If you see bubbles, you have a leak. Do not use the grill with a leak. Call a professional service technician or replace the leaking part. If the propane tank itself is leaking, call the fire department. If swapping your tank for a filled one, check for leaks before using.
Use only charcoal starter fluid. Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquid. Never squirt more fluid on a fire, and keep it out of the reach of children. When you’re finished grilling, make sure the coals are completely cooled before disposing.
Summer safety and yards
Holes, bumps and tree roots create tripping hazards. Do a thorough walk-through of your yard periodically, especially if you’re in an area where animals dig holes.
Fill holes, chop or dig up dead tree roots, and roll or tamp high spots. If you have trouble with critters or other pests, you want to call for professional help.
Backyard swing sets, playsets and playgrounds
Chances are, your play equipment is getting a lot of use, with no school and fewer out-of-home activities. Conduct regular inspections to make sure it’s solid. Look for loose screws, nuts and bolts, exposed nails, splinters or other potential hazards. Make sure you have soft landing areas under swings and slides. Periodically replenish soft landing materials, such as wood chips, to keep the surface soft.
If your play equipment is accessible by others, check with your insurance broker/agent. Play equipment is considered an “attractive nuisance” by most insurers. In many cases, you’re liable if someone is injured on your play equipment, even if they’re trespassing in your yard. Adding additional liability to your homeowners’ policy is inexpensive.
Even if not required by local building codes, consider building a fence or otherwise making play equipment less accessible to neighboring children.
As the Red Cross notes, a child or weak swimmer can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text, check a fishing line or apply sunscreen. Even a small toddler pool can be a hazard: almost 800 children drown every year, and half are under the age of five.
For extra safety, no one should be in or near the pool alone, and children should never be unsupervised in the vicinity of the pool. Young children should wear life jackets or other flotation devices, even if a responsible adult will be nearby, until they’re strong swimmers.
If someone is drowning, follow the adage, “reach or throw before you go.” If possible, throw a life ring or extend a pole before jumping into the water. Someone who’s drowning can easily panic and pull the rescuer under water.
As mentioned above, when considering a pool, talk to your insurance partner. You’ll likely need additional coverage.
Safety tips on pests and pesticides
If you live in an area with ticks, check your children and pets when they come in from outdoors.
For areas with mosquitoes or other insect pests, follow these safety tips from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
- Use non-chemical pest control methods whenever possible. Make sure you don’t have any standing water or leaky pipes, and eliminate pest habitats, such as leaf debris or neglected woodpiles.
- Don’t apply pesticides when children or pets are nearby, and don’t allow them near the application area until the pesticides have dried.
- If you use pesticide where neighbors’ pets might go, put up a warning sign.
- Never apply pesticides on windy days, and wear protective clothing, including long sleeves and eye protection.
- Wash hands immediately after applying pesticides.
Sheds and outbuildings
If you store equipment or chemicals in a shed or other building, keep it secure. Keep equipment and chemicals out of the reach of children, no matter where they’re located. Even if there are no concerns about theft, put a lock on any shed or outbuilding where fuel, chemicals, or potentially dangerous equipment is stored.
We hope these backyard summer safety tips help you and your family enjoy a safe and healthy summer.