As the weather warms up, many Americans head outside for some fun in the sun. Before you kick back and relax, make sure your yard and all its areas are safe for your family and guests. Check out these 10 tips that will help you create a fun and safe outdoor living space that you can enjoy all summer long!
Pool safety tips
Enclose your pool
A fence is one of the most important safety features your pool can have. The best option is to have a four sided, non-climbable fence and not use your house as the fourth wall. You should also look to install a self-latching gate, so the door closes and locks by itself, even if you don’t pull it shut.
Please note: Though there is no federal law, most municipalities have regulations for pool fences. Make sure to check out your town’s ordinances and adhere to them when installing a pool fence.
Sound the alarm
Adding alarms to your pool can help you know when someone (or something) is taking an unsupervised dip. An alarm attached to the gate can alert you when the door has been open, and an alarm actually in the pool can let you know when someone has entered the water.
Don’t forget the drains
Pool drains can be deadly. In fact, some can catch body parts, hair, and swimsuits, keeping someone trapped underwater for long periods of time. To prevent this, you should install anti-entrapment covers on your pool drains. Before you or your family takes a dip in the pool, make sure you have the correct covers, and if not, install them.
Maintain all surrounding areas
Be meticulous about maintaining your pool and the surrounding areas. Ensure that all toys are put away after pool time is over and walkways are free of tripping hazards. Test your water often, and add chlorine or other chemicals as necessary. Also, check your filters and pumps to make sure everything is working properly, or better yet, hire a professional who can perform these tasks for you!
Institute the buddy system
Even the best swimmers can experience a moment of distress and require help. That’s why no one should swim alone, and when it comes to children, make sure a responsible adult supervises. Also, whoever is supervising the swimmers needs to be present. That means they shouldn’t be on social media or shopping online while on duty.
Give your pool a cover up, too
At the end of the season or when you know you will not be using the pool for a while, make sure to cover it up. The cover should fit perfectly over your pool, so no one can get underneath it. If you have an above ground pool, remove all ladders, so no one can climb inside without you knowing.
Share the rules with family and friends
Talk to your family and any guests about pool safety. Let them know that having a pool is a privilege, and it can only be used if your rules are respected. Consider enrolling your children in swim lessons if they are not strong swimmers, and consider getting CPR certified just in case of an emergency.
Backyard safety tips
Get decked out for safety
As the weather warms, dreams of al fresco dining might be entering your head. Is your deck ready for it? Check your deck for structural integrity, especially if you have a wooden deck. Like all organic material, wood can rot, and a lot of rain and snow - like we receive in New Jersey - can speed up the process.
Visually inspect your deck for any missing, damaged, or rotted boards. Repair or replace as needed. Pay close attention to footers and posts as they are holding up your deck. Before you declare your deck ready for the season, it might be a good idea to restain and seal your deck. Remember - moisture is the enemy of wood. Taking these steps can keep the moisture out and prolong the life of your deck.
Keep grilling safe this season
Speaking of al fresco dining - who doesn’t love a barbeque? What you might not realize is that each year, there is an average of 8,900 home fires caused by grilling gone wrong. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps you can take to avoid disaster.
- Always grill outside. (Your garage, even with the door open, is not a safe place to grill.)
- Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house or other structures.
- Create a 3-foot safety zone around your barbeque where children and pets cannot enter.
- Always ensure that the gas is turned off or the coals are out completely when you are finished grilling.
- Keep your grill thoroughly cleaned as grease and food particles can easily ignite.
Enjoy safe playground fun at home
Having a playset at home can be a lot of fun as long as you keep it maintained. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions to see exactly how to care for your set. Some routine maintenance tasks may include:
- Completing an annual safety check, including tightening any loose screws and examining all wooden structures for signs of rot or damage. (Replace or repair as needed.)
- Inspecting metal surfaces before allowing little ones to play on them as they can get very hot in the sun.
- Removing any standing water as pools of water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Finally, before your kids are ready to play, install and maintain protective surfacing to prevent scraps, burns, and even broken bones.
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