With sunshine, warm temperatures, and summertime around the corner, Canadians are leaving the confines of their homes to spend more time outdoors enjoying the weather.
It’s the season of road-trips, nature hikes, backyard barbecues, and outdoor playdates for the little ones. But while the occasional bump or scrape is just part of childhood, there are a few precautions you can take to minimize the safety hazards lurking in your own backyard. Here’s what you can do to make sure your backyard is safe this summer.
At the Grill
Summer means family dinners straight from the grill. Stay safe while barbecuing by following these important barbecue safety tips:
- Clean and inspect your grill regularly
- Keep your grill at least three metres (or ten feet) away from your home
- Light the grill properly, and be vigilant when grilling
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand
- Always cook meat thoroughly
On the Trampoline
Trampolines are a great source of fun and exercise for the kiddies – but they can pose a serious hazard for energetic youngsters. In Canada, 4,247 cases of trampoline injuries were reported over the five most recent years of data.
Make sure your trampoline meets safety standards and keep it away from trees or other structures. Give it a quick inspection before each use, ensuring that leg braces are secure, the shock absorbing pads fully cover the frame, springs and hooks, and that the frame and bed are free of damage.
Children should be six and older to use the trampoline, and always under adult supervision.
On the Deck
You may be proud of your handiwork on that new deck, but you’ll want to regularly maintain and inspect it to make sure it’s structurally sound.
Remove debris, furniture, and planters and give the deck a sweeping every week.
Inspect your deck regularly, checking that the wood is sound – examine deck boards, railings, stairs, support posts, and the ledger board (where the deck attaches to the house.) pay special attention to damp areas that tend to be exposed to water, and make sure banners and railings are secure. Rehammer any nails popping out and tighten loose screws.
In the Pool
Pools are a summertime oasis of fun – whether lounging, swimming or splashing, keep your loved ones safe by keeping life preserves, a rope with a life-saving ring, or a reaching pole on hand at all times. Maintain a fence around your pool that’s at least 4 feet high and contains a locked entrance – self-closing, self-latching gates are best.
Always swim with at least one other person present, and be sure to monitor children in or around the pool area. Children should always be accompanied by an adult, even if they are competent swimmers.
By the Fire Pit
Summer is the season to cook up taste treats by the fire pit. Make sure your fire pit is a safe distance away from your house, and clear or any woodpiles or dead vegetation. Prune trees around the area and trim back overhanging branches.
Keep children a safe distance from the fire pit at all times, and never leave it unsupervised. Make sur e your family is versed in fire safety, and follow safety procedures whenever you’re working with open flames, including in your fire pit.
By the Pond
A backyard pond is a beautiful and relaxing addition to any backyard – keep it safe by putting protective measures into place:
- Your pond should be away from children’s play areas, or areas where your pets frequent.
- Children should be monitored and accompanied when near ponds, waterfalls or other backyard water features.
- Check with local bylaws to see if a fence or other barrier is required for your pond.
- Pond nets add an extra layer of protection, as do other solid covers or grills.