Summer is a time of fun. Homeowners across America are hosting backyard barbecues, swim parties and evening gatherings around fire pits. Most of these activities occur without issue, but none of them are inherently safe. It is important to minimize risks to both family members and guests by being watchful for common backyard safety mistakes.
1. Swimming Pool
On a summer day in June, a 2-year-old boy drowned in a swimming pool in Pennsylvania. His grandfather had a medical emergency prior to the incident. Family members attending the stricken man were apparently distracted long enough for the boy to drown. Swimming pool safety is critical. Fences should surround the pool, and gates should be locked to prevent access by both people and pets. Supervision should be provided by adults with proper CPR training.
2. Outdoor Cooking Equipment
FEMA published a report indicating that grills are responsible for about 10 deaths each year. A major issue is consumer disregard for safety information clearly indicated in the owner’s manuals. Safety instructions for each grill type explain minimum safe distances between grills and combustibles. Maintenance procedures are detailed for cleaning to prevent grease buildup. Still, many grill operators are not aware of written safety instructions.
3. Wildlife and Pets
Everything from bees to snakes are competing for resources in areas that may include the back yard. Depending on where the home is located, the list of dangerous wildlife varies. An example would be hornets taking up residence in the area. Be sure to fully inspect the area where guests will gather.
Normally non-aggressive pets may become nervous due to the heat and the number of guests. Upsetting normal routines of pets can result in bites or scratches. Since homeowners are responsible for pets, a little bite or scratch can result in heavy fines and expenses.
4. Fire Pits
A family relaxing around a backyard fire pit in Alabama led to a house fire. The homeowner attempted to extinguish the fire before bed with a garden hose. The hose apparently knocked a burning ember onto a seat cushion causing it to later catch fire. The fire migrated to a vinyl fence and finally to the roof. Fire safety cannot be overemphasized. All fire can be dangerous. A single match can burn down a forest. Keep fire contained and controlled.
5. Sports Injuries
Backyard athletes are rarely in top shape. Also, impromptu games rarely provide proper safety gear. Back yard competitions have caused everything from cuts and scrapes to broken bones and serious head injuries. Any sports activities that require safety gear on the field should also have it in use in the back yard.
6. Riding Motorized Vehicles
News stories abound with incidents of serious injuries and deaths occurring during family get-togethers where quads and other off-road motorized vehicles are being used. It takes more than a few minutes of instruction to teach a child or adult how to operate such machines. Most injury reports detail speed, unfamiliarity and lack of safety gear as contributing to accidents.
Never assume anything when it comes to backyard safety. Be diligent and vigilant to issues that could lead to accidents and injuries. Fix anything that could lead to safety problems, and do not be afraid to take control and stop behaviors that could lead to an accident.
About the Author
Brandon Garcia is currently blogging for Whirl Construction, a home improvement company located in northern New Jersey. On the weekends, he enjoys relaxing with his family and doing work around the house.