Backyard Toy Safety
Do you have a pool, a trampoline, a swing set or a treehouse in your back yard? If your back yard is every child's dream, every kid on the block may want to play there. To keep your kids (and everyone else's) safe, install a fence that's difficult to climb. In addition, take these safety precautions.
You may have heard us say this before, but pools can pose a serious threat if proper precautions aren't taken. First of all, make sure you have a pool fence and a locking gate so people who don't live in your house cannot access the pool when you aren't there. When you are there, keep an eye on what's going on at the pool. Adult supervision is important in case of accident or injury.
Today's swing sets run the gamut from basic to something you would find at a park. If you install one in your back yard, take these steps for safety:
- Make sure that the swing sets are appropriate for your children's ages and at a safe height and size for them.
- Place it in an area where the surface is level for better stability, be sure there's a soft surface around the swing set for landing space, and always make sure to have the landing space cleared out before they start to swing.
- Space out swings carefully to prevent them from running into each other or other objects in the area, like tree branches or other backyard toys.
Another thing that may help children avoid getting hurt is to avoid wearing loose clothing that could be caught on the swings.
Trampolines are one of the most popular backyard toys, but also one of the most dangerous. There are so many ways for children to get hurt from getting fingers caught in the springs to landing wrong, falling off, bumping into each other, etc. Some of these injuries can result in serious head or neck injuries that could lead to permanent paralysis or death. If you decide to buy a trampoline, make sure there is an adult supervisor at all times. Discourage children from doing stunts on the trampoline, and encourage them to take turns with the jumping. Always check the trampoline's parts for any repairs that may need to be made to keep it in good condition for everyone's safety.
Tree houses are just as dangerous as trampolines, but there are some things that can be done to make them a little safer. First and foremost, make sure the tree for the tree house is strong enough. A tree house should be checked regularly to make sure the structure is secure enough to have children in it. There should be a safe way to get up and down, and keeping a soft surface like cedar mulch, rubber mulch or even sand beneath the house a surface could reduce injury in case of falls. Tree houses at greater heights will result in more severe injuries with falling accidents, and it's more difficult to attach it to the tree at these heights. Make sure to follow proper guidelines for guardrails, and remember that adult supervision is always recommended.
In general, having a protective surface for your child's play area is a very good safety measure to take. According to the Center for Childhood Safety, 79% of all playground injuries are from falls to the ground. The severity of injuries from any kind of fall while playing with backyard toys can be greatly reduced with protective surfaces that are properly maintained. Soft woodchips are more popular, but mulch, sand, and engineered wood fiber are also better than having a surface of grass or dirt that hardens over time.
Adult supervision is the other safety measure that is important for children's safety. Remember, quality over quantity – it doesn't matter if there are a hundred adults out there with one child if they are not being attentive. Always keep an eye out for children when they are playing.
"If you have a lot of toys where people can get injured, get as much no-fault medical as you can, and you probably want to get more liability coverage," cautioned Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.
"You need to have enough liability protection to protect your assets, and it's relatively inexpensive," Salvatore said. " Contact your agent to find out what additional coverage you might need for your family's summer toys.