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Backyard safety tips for spring and summer

April 19, 2016
Backyard parties will be a lot less stressful if you know your backyard is safe.

The weather is getting warmer, which means you and your loved ones will probably start spending a lot more time in your backyard. Before the fun begins, however, it is crucial you make sure your backyard is as safe as possible. This means thoroughly checking your deck, grill, swing set, pool and any other equipment you have.

Deck safety

The structural soundness of your deck may have become compromised during the winter. Check the railings and stairs to make sure nothing is loose or rickety, and be sure to hammer down any nails that may be popping out so no one hurts themselves. Inspect the wood and support beams to check if anything is rotting or if any screws are missing. Consumer Reports also suggested checking not only that the railings are stable but also that they are 3 or more feet tall with 4 inches or less of space between each rail. If you're not sure whether your deck is OK, the publication also suggested hiring a structural engineer.

Grill safety

You should consistently check your grill for leaks before use. According to Porch.com, there is a test to help you determine if the grill has a leak. Before starting the test, the grill must be turned off and the tank valve completely closed. Then, administer a solution made of water and detergent on the hose, fittings, connectors and valve handles. Bubbles mean there is a leak, and you should not use the grill until the leak has been eliminated.

The International Code Council said to avoid placing your grill on top of or near anything flammable and to always have a hose, 4-gallon water bucket or fire extinguisher nearby. In addition, never leave a grill unattended while in use and make sure children maintain a safe distance away.

"There should be a fence at least 4 feet high surrounding your pool.”

Swing set safety

If your backyard has a swing set, Consumer Reports said it is necessary to check that it meets all current codes. In addition, there should be at least eight inches between each swing and there should be no bolts sticking out of the structure. A swing set should also be on level ground and surrounded by soft landing material.

Pool safety

If you have a pool, make sure you have updated your home insurance. Home insurance premiums tend to be higher for residences with pools, but it is important that you are fully covered in the event of an accident. Consumer Reports said there should be a fence at least 4 feet high surrounding the pool, and the entry gates should self-close and self-latch.

According to ICC, you must also remove any item on the outside of the fence that a child could climb on to get over it. Use a pool cover, make sure your drains are up to code and always have life-saving devices on the poolside. Finally, consider investing in a pool alarm that tells you when someone has accidentally entered the water.