Top Tips for Backyard Summer Safety

May 03, 2018

Your Summer Safety Tips!

Now that summer is getting into full swing and school summer recess is approaching, our backyards are becoming the focus for fun and relaxation.

But dangers lurk here, especially where children are concerned. It's important to give thought to some of the safety issues that can help ensure your outdoor days end as happily as they began.

The statistics included in our advice sections below give an idea of the risks and hazards out there and the importance of having and applying a safety code that everyone in your family and circle of friends observes.

There are four areas where the risks and hazards are at their highest -- outdoor grills, backyard swimming pools and spas, using garden tools and taking care of pets.

Let's take a closer look at each of these.

7 Outdoor Grilling Safety Tips

Hard to believe but an average of almost 17,000 people end up at an ER every year as a result of injuries involving grills. Children under 5 are typically the most vulnerable.

And fire departments tackle almost 10,000 grill blazes each year.

Here are some tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for BBQ safety:

  1. Grills should only ever be used outdoors.
  2. They should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves.
  3. Kids and pets should be kept at least three away from the grill area.
  4. Remove grease or fat build-up from grills and trays before starting.
  5. Never leave your BBQ grill unattended when it's lit.
  6. Your gas grill lid should be fully open before you light it.
  7. Only use purpose-made charcoal starter fluid and don't add it once the fire is burning.

Learn more about outdoor grilling safety at .

10 Backyard Pool Safety Tips

Tragically, according to the American Red Cross, over 200 children drown in backyard pools every year.

Add to that the number of injuries and other mishaps that end up in the ER, the doctor's office or even receiving at-home first-aid treatment, and you'll appreciate why backyard pool safety practices are essential.

Many of these are down to commonsense but, where children are concerned, that can be in short supply!

Here's what the Red Cross recommends:

  1. Secure your pool with barriers or fencing at least 4ft high, with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  2. Place a safety cover over the pool (or hot tub) when not in use.
  3. Keep children under active supervision. Never allow anyone to swim alone.
  4. Consider using a pool alarm that sounds if anyone enters the pool.
  5. Inexperienced swimmers should wear a US Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  6. Non-swimmers and weak swimmers should undergo proper swimming instruction.
  7. Keep the pool clean, maintaining proper chemical levels. Regularly test and adjust.
  8. Keep all pool chemicals securely out of reach of children.
  9. Set rules for safe behavior and enforce them.
  10. Ensure everyone knows how to respond to a pool emergency.

The National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) runs a two-hour online safety course called Home Pool Essentials. It costs $20 but that includes a 30-page booklet on pool safety. Start here:

10 Yard Tools Safety Tips

Incredibly, something like 400,000 people are treated in US hospital emergency rooms every year from injuries from lawn and garden tools.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) works with equipment manufacturers to set safety standards and get defective equipment out of the yard.

But it stresses that each of us has a role to play too.

"Consumers must do their part to care for their own safety," CPSC says. "They need to always use lawn and garden tools responsibly and follow manufacturers' instructions."

To minimize yard tools safety hazards, the Commission recommends:

  1. Dress appropriately for your chores -- such as long pants, long-sleeves, sturdy shoes, gloves and eye protection.
  2. Before starting machinery, remove items from the work area that might cause injury or damage, such as sticks, glass, metal, wire and stones.
  3. Ensure safety devices on powered equipment are working properly.
  4. Don't let children ride or operate a mower, even under supervision.
  5. When you use power equipment, children should be kept well clear, preferably indoors.
  6. Unplug electric tools or disconnect spark plugs on gas-powered tools before making any adjustments.
  7. If powered items have to be left unattended make them inoperable before leaving them.
  8. Don't fill gas tanks when equipment is running or even hot. Wipe spills and store gas away from the house.
  9. Don't use electric power tools in wet or damp conditions.
  10. Make sure extension cords are in good condition and properly rated for outdoor use.

Of course, it's not just power equipment that present yard tools safety hazards.

Hand tools with sharp blades and tines should be handled with respect and kept well away from children. Never leave them where they might cause a passer-by to trip.

The same caution should be used with the use and storage of garden chemicals, such as fertilizer and weed or insect killers.

These should be stored in a dry place under lock and key. Immediately after use return them to storage.

7 Yard Safety Tips for Pets

The biggest risk to your pet comes from potential poisoning, which prompts around 18,000 calls a year to the ASPCA. Other dangers arise from hazards like insecure boundaries that enable pets to escape.

Here are 7 quick tips to protect your pets in the yard:

  1. Avoid plants that are poisonous to animals. There are many. This list shows which are toxic and which are not:
  2. Cover your compost pile to keep animal curiosity at bay.
  3. Check labels on gardening chemicals for possible toxic hazards to animals.
  4. Discourage fleas and ticks by removing leaf litter and tall grass.
  5. Keep animals indoors when you're using powered equipment.
  6. Make sure your yard boundaries are sealed and secure.
  7. Protect your pet by providing water and a shady spot for relaxing safely in the sun.

Extra Protection

Can you insure against some of the risks and hazards in your backyard? Certainly. For example, your homeowners insurance or renters policy should protect you against theft of garden tools and furniture, or against damage caused by a falling tree.

If you want to know more about this type of protection or there are other risks that concern you, please get in touch with Kirby Insurance.