19 June, 2015
In the midst of organizing lemonade stands and backyard barbeques, you may not be thinking about setting up a safe space for summer fun.
To make sure no one leaves your backyard with anything but smiles, it’s important to take certain safety measures and establish good practices in your outdoor entertaining space.
Here are a few simple safety tips to get you started.
1. Lock Folding Furniture
A lot of outdoor furniture is made for easy winter storage. When you pull out folding furniture for the season, make sure the item locks in place, so that it doesn’t fold on someone using it. If the furniture doesn’t have a lock function, warn children about the dangers of playing on that piece of furniture and make sure you set the item up in low-traffic areas where no one can trip on it.
2. Check Table Tops for Cracks
If you have glass or sheetrock table tops, inspect them for cracks and chips when you wipe them down for summer. Even the smallest chips can result in cuts for unsuspecting children and cracks can quickly expand in the hot sun. If your furniture has a crack, make sure to replace that piece before the temperatures heat up too much.
3. Oil Umbrella Frame Joints
Nothing feels better in the hot summer sun than the shade of a patio umbrella. When you pull your umbrella out of storage this month, don’t forget to oil the frame joints. Umbrellas can be dangerous if they don’t open and close properly, especially around excited children. Set clear rules that kids shouldn’t play with the umbrella and make sure the joints move with ease before your first summer shindig.
4. Weigh Umbrella Down
It’s always a good rule to weigh your dining umbrella down, even in perfect weather conditions, but especially when it’s windy outside. In extreme storms, close your umbrella and store it in the shed or house to keep it from getting picked up by strong gusts. Umbrellas can become dangerous projectiles if they’re swept away by a storm.
5. Examine for Wear and Tear
When pulling out your outdoor deck furniture for the season, clean and inspect it with care. Straps can fray and woven seats can become worn over time, making it easy for an unsuspecting guest to fall through during your Fourth of July celebration. Also check metal frames for bent pieces or rusted metal. Fix any sharp edges before setting your patio furniture up for everyone to use.
6. Wax Wicker Furniture
Wicker is a popular outdoor furniture material, and although it is made much stronger than it used to be, the material can still become quite worn over time. After rinsing your wicker furniture, use wax to reinforce the material and make it more water resistant. With proper care, wicker furniture can last quite a while.
7. Repair With Non-Toxic Cleaners and Paints
When sprucing up your outdoor furniture for the summer, make sure you look for non-toxic paints and cleaners. Damage from use and weather can release toxins into the air or water supply around your house, creating a danger for family and pets. Non-toxic products are better all around, so make sure you buy the right stuff.
8. Provide Storage
Outdoor dining can quickly become hectic with kids, friends and pets running around. To avoid accidents, create plenty of storage spaces for tools and toys to go when they aren’t in use. Outdoor benches that double as storage containers are a great, efficient way to create more storage space in your yard. Also, make sure you have a secure space to store lawn care products and chemicals that is under lock and key.
9. Keep Flammables Away From Fire
The romance and excitement of a backyard fire is a cornerstone of summer fun. But that fun can end quickly when fire spreads outside the designated pit. To keep from a disastrous evening, move flammable furniture, such as seat cushions, hammocks and umbrellas, away from the fire area. Even fire resistant materials can be dangerous when they’re too close to the flames.
10. Create a Fire Safety Plan
Fire features are one of the most popular backyard items today. They’re fun for the family and can add value to your home. But remember through all the fun to set time aside for safety. Lay out clear rules for behavior around the fire with kids and set up some safety procedures in case of an emergency. Just dedicating a few minutes to fire safety will help you enjoy your backyard fire with peace of mind.
11. Establish Safe Structures
Potentially dangerous outdoor items like barbeque grills, fire pits and swimming pools should have protective structures around them to keep children and pets safe. Make sure you can cover open flames on your grill and fire pit and have a railing or fence around your pool to keep children from falling in.
Accidents happen, but many of them can be avoided with these simple safety tips and procedures this summer. All you should be worrying about is what book to relax with or what’s going on the grill tonight. Sail through the summer with ease and enjoy the best season yet without any trips to the doctor’s office.