Now that schools are letting out soon, kids are going to be playing in the backyard more than ever. So, now is a great time to look around your backyard and make sure it is safe. My babyproofing company, Safety Mom Solutions includes a review of the backyard area as part of the home consultation. However, for those of you that are past the stage that you need to a professional babyproofer, or are a do-it yourselfer, below are great tips to help keep everyone safe.
• The plastic and metal on slides and swings can get extremely hot in high temperatures causing serious burns. It is the same rule as with bath water, test it! If the play area is not in a shady area, look into installing a shade covering.
• As part of your spring lawn clean-up be sure have your trees checked. Rotting or dead trees can fall and cause serious injury. Especially make sure any trees that are close to the swing set are healthy and pruned.
• Clear the area of large sticks as kids love to play with them and can hurt others or themselves.
• Be sure everyone, including your pets stay off the lawn following lawn treatments, for the time period recommended by the manufacturer. Read the labels and safety warnings.
• Children need to be dressed properly. No flip-flops or open toed shoes when climbing or swinging. And, never let them wear loose clothing or anything with drawstrings that could get caught in the equipment resulting in strangulation.
• Make sure that there is still 6 to 9 inches of wood chips or other protection underneath the playground equipment. If not, call your local tree company, many times they are willing to give chips away if you pick them up. Also, check all connections and bolts to make sure nothing came loose.
• Check your fence to see if any damage has occurred during the winter. Be sure to fix areas that can be an escape route and make sure the locks still work properly.
• Keep all yard tools and lawn materials, like fertilizer and seed in a shed with a lock.
• Make sure your grill is not too close to the house. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the grill should be at least 10 feet away from the house.
• Bees love to make hives in wooden play sets and in outside lamp fixtures. Check these areas frequently. If you find a hive, call a professional!
• Check your pool fence and make sure it has a child proof lock. Door alarms that chime when someone has left the house are a great layer of additional safety. There are also pool motion detectors that will alert you when someone or thing falls in the pool. Make sure the drain suction is working properly and has a cover that is up to code. Also, make sure that the pool treatments are done correctly, too much chlorine can cause skin irritations, eye irritation, and both short and longer-term respiratory problems.
Have a safe and fun summer!