You see in the news all too frequently about a backyard home grill catching the home on fire. Recently, a man fired up his grill, never noticing that the ash-catcher under the grill was loose enough to allow embers to fall through. He also made the mistake of firing up his grill on his wooden deck. The two mistakes together turned tragic when embers fell to the deck and burned the back half of the home.
Outdoor grilling is only one way that a summer of fun can turn out tragically. Take a look at this checklist that will help you make sure that your backyard is safe.
- Grilling: Be sure to inspect your grill before each use to ensure that it is indeed in safe, working order. Never use your grill on a surface that could ignite. Make sure your grill is a safe distance from structures or anything that might catch fire. When you are finished grilling, close the grill and make sure the coals have been doused with water and are no longer a threat to reignite.
- Playgrounds: When installing playground equipment, follow the installation instruction very carefully when putting together and setting up slides, climbing structures, and swings. Avoid playground equipment that is made from pressure-treated wood (because they contain toxins). Always put a softer surface under playground equipment such as rubber or wood chips. This should help lessen injuries from falls. Never leave small children by themselves on or near play structures, or pools of any kind.
- Trampolines: The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that trampoline injuries account for over 100,000 ER visits every year. Should you make the decision to purchase a trampoline, or should you already own one, make sure a safety net is installed. You should put in place, if they are not already, trampoline safety rules, and make sure that you enforce them. The most important safety rule you should have is “only one jumper on the trampoline at a time.”
- Decks and porches: Younger children can become trapped or even fall through railing slats if they are spaced apart too far. It's important to use safety netting to line fences and railings or add extra boards or lattice to help close up gaps. Make sure that you check fences for loose boards, sharp edges, splinters, or missing slats. And, check to see that pickets are less than five inches apart. To help keep really young children safe, you should install child-proof gates at the bottom and top of all stairs.
- Lawn and garden tools: Outdoor tools such as mowers, pruning shears, saws, and power tools can be very dangerous. Find a place where you can store gardening equipment, such as in a shed or garage (with doors), and secure the doors with a lock or childproof latch. Always wear safety goggles when you mow your lawn or are trimming bushes. Around 2.5 million eye injuries happen every year in the U.S., with almost half of these accidents happening around at home.
- Chemicals: Poisonous weed killers, fertilizers, and other toxic chemicals need to be stored well out of reach of children. Also, remember to keep swimming pool disinfectants and cleaners, as well as fuels used to start grills, in a safe place.
Remember, if you do all of these things, accidents can still take place, so be proactive and have a first aid kit on hand, along with important numbers, such as the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).
HealthONE is committed to keeping our communities injury free. We believe strongly in injury prevention. Injuries are very common, but most of them are preventable. Our mission is to prevent unintentional injuries from happening in all ages of life and preserve quality of life. Unintentional injuries include those that result from motor vehicle collisions, falls, poisonings, drowning, and recreational and sports-related activities.