When it comes to outdoor summer fun, our backyards are where it’s at. The grills are fired up, the pools are filled and we’re ready to lounge and enjoy those lazy (or not so lazy) days of summer. But, all that fun can come to a frighteningly screeching halt if you don’t take some precautions.
Unfortunately, along with the fun, there are also plenty of dangers lurking in our backyards. To make sure your season in the sun is all about good times and not trips to the ER, here are seven backyard accidents waiting to happen and tips on how to make sure that they don’t.
Take proper precautions with your grill and grill placement
All that grilled grub is delicious, but the high heat that gives the food that great taste can be dangerous. In fact, between 2013-17, 19,000 people required emergency medical attention because of grill-related injuries. Make sure you warn kids and adults alike about staying clear of the grill when you’re cooking and afterwards when it’s still cooling down, and take precautions when lighting the grill and cooking.
Also, make sure your grill is in proper working condition. Gas grills contribute to about 8,700 house fires per year, largely due to leaks and breaks in the grill. Make sure to keep your grill away from all structures, including trees, walls and deck railings, and clean it regularly. For more information on good grilling habits, the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) has a good list of grill safety tips.
Keep an eye on children around water
Sadly, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for kids ages 1-4, and it goes without saying that you should be vigilant with children around pools and employ safety precautions like pool fences and alarms. Make sure you also watch them around other water sources though, as small children can drown in something as small as a bucket of water.
For more information on preventing drowning, the CPSC offers Pool Safely tips and other information that’s valuable for parents, grandparents and caregivers to review.
Related: Our top pool safety products
Be vigilant about ticks and other bugs
Not only are mosquitoes irritating and the cause of those itchy, red welts, they can also carry disease. To keep them at bay, consider using citronella candles and natural bug repellents that don’t use harsh chemicals. Taking other measures, such as eliminating standing water and wearing protective clothing, can help too.
Ticks are another outdoor danger, carrying diseases like Rocky Mountain Fever, Lyme disease and encephalitis. Bug repellants can help, but if you do find one on yourself or a member of your family, make sure you follow proper tick-removal practices.
Make sure your backyard is protected from intruders
We love our backyards for the privacy they provide, but that privacy can also shield burglars from the sight of neighbors and passersby, making it easier for them to go about their business. Fortunately, there are a host of home security products that can help, including outdoor cameras, motion-sensor lighting and alarms for all your doors and windows.
Make it clear that your home is protected too with visible cameras and signage, as burglars are much less likely to hit homes they have security systems in place. Also, be sure to securely store expensive equipment, and considering chaining down your grill, patio furniture and other expensive items that could be easily stolen.
Properly store power tools and gardening gear
All those tools that come out in the summer months to keep your yard looking great can pose ugly dangers. Securely store fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals out of the reach of kids and pets, and keep kids away from lawnmowers, pruning shears and other sharp objects. Also, make sure people of all ages take precautions when using equipment, wearing protective gear as necessary.
Double check outdoor structures
The winter weather can do damage to decks and playsets, rotting, rusting and sometimes leaving them in dangerous shape. Make sure you take a good look at them all to access their condition and repair as necessary. Also, consider placing shade canopies over any metal slides or swings to prevent burns and replacing wood chips or other surrounding safety materials designed to prevent injuries from falls.
Take care with plants and flowers
As pretty as they are, some flowers and plants can be dangerous and even fatal for small children and pets. For example, Lilies of the Valley are some of the sweetest-looking little flowers with their bell-shaped blooms. Ingesting them, however, can cause vomiting, dizziness and even death. Do you research before planting, and if you do choose to plant some that pose danger, take precautions to keep children and pets away from them.
There’s something to be said about front-porch sitting, but It’s hard to beat the backyard when it comes to a private oasis where we can relax, unwind and gather with our friends and family. By taking a few simple precautions, you can make sure to keep it that way and ensure that everyone stays safe all summer long.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.