From spring to fall, the backyard becomes one of the most popular places to be! Whether enjoying a cup of coffee and reading a book, going for a swim, jumping on the trampoline, or firing up the grill for some barbecue – the backyard provides a great place to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. No matter how you prefer to enjoy your backyard oasis, don’t overlook these 6 backyard dangers. Take time to understand the risks and how you can help prevent injury or incident. Make sure you’re considering these as part of your personal risk management strategy to protect your family and home.
Decks & Balconies
Are you sure your deck is ready to handle increased traffic of summer after snow sat on it all winter? According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 4,000 injuries a year occur due to the structural failure of a deck or balcony. Decks generally have a 10 to 15-year lifespan so be sure to inspect your deck during the warmer months and service it as needed. What should you be looking for when inspecting your deck? Take at a look at the International Code Council’s suggestions here.
An average of 8,900 home fires per year were caused by grills in 2009-2013. 83% of these were from gas grills. It’s easy to forget about a hot grill after you take the food off and are ready to eat, but failing to ensure it is extinguished properly can be quite dangerous. The placement of your grill is also important – keep grills away from siding & deck railings, and away from overhanging branches or under eaves. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a helpful video on how to check for gas leaks from your propane grill, as well as useful grilling safety tips.
Unfortunately, bonfire mishaps send thousands of people to the emergency room each year – and in the wrong conditions or without safety precautions, a backyard bonfire can quickly cause significant property damage. Before you start roasting marshmallows and enjoying the campfire, take a look at the NFPA’s safety tips.
From 2005-2014 there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings annually in the US. 1 in 5 of these deaths were children age 14 and younger. It’s important to not only beware of children around the pool, but people who may be visiting your pool and take action to keep them all safe. The CDC outlines a list of steps for preventing incidents at your personal pool. These also apply to public pools and natural water settings you may visit for a swim. With a pool at your home, insurance is also a very important aspect of your risk management strategy. Check out our blog to learn insurance and risk management tips to help you swim safely.
According to The Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, there were an estimated 1,002,735 visits to the emergency department for trampoline related injuries from 2002 to 2011. 92.7% of the people with fractures were under the age of 16. Teach your children trampoline safety. And don’t forget about the friends and neighbors who may also use your trampoline. You can print out a Jumping with Safety Poster from the CPSC to remind everyone of safe jumping practices.
Each year more than 200,000 children go to the emergency room with playground-related injuries. Most of these injuries happen when a child falls from the playset equipment to the ground, so it is very important to make sure your playset is on a safe surface. The CPSC has useful resources to help you safely install, maintain, and supervise your backyard playset – including a Home Playground Safety Checklist, an Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook, and a Playground Safety poster. Not sure what playset to purchase? Check out this guide from ConsumerAffairs to help you make an informed decision. Take time to consider these safety precautions to help ensure the safety of your children and any other kids who come to play in your backyard.
What if you experience one of these backyard hazards, will your insurance cover it? Will property damage caused from a grill or bonfire be covered? What about liability coverage for an injury that occurs on a trampoline or pool? Every policy is different, so it is critical to talk with your insurance advisor to understand how your homeowners policy and/or personal umbrella policy would respond. Additionally, with some insurance carriers, having specific backyard items such as trampolines or unfenced pools could make you ineligible for their policy – another reason to make sure you talk with your advisor!
Before you and your family head out to the backyard to relax, eat, and play, make sure you understand the risks associated with these outdoor activities and how to stay safe!