Exterior Safety

  • Lawn and Garden Safety

As the weather becomes warmer and days are longer, we spend as much time as we can outdoors enjoying our backyards. Many of us tackle do-it-yourself projects and others are happy just being outside. But, to be safe, it is important to remember the following tips when frolicking in the yard, especially if you have children:

  • Keep children inside the house or well away from the area you are mowing.

  • Prepare your lawn by walking over it, checking for broken sticks, stones, toys and anything else that could shoot out from under the mower or damage the blade.

  • Before you start your lawn mower for the first time, check to make sure that all guards are in place.

  • Don't let people stand or sit anywhere near where you are mowing. Be especially careful to keep small children away. The safest place for children while the grass is being cut in inside the home.

  • Never reach under the mower unless it is turned off and the blade has completely stopped turning.

  • Only refuel the mower after it has completely cooled down.

  • Store pesticides and herbicides on high shelves or inside locked cabinets, out of the reach of children.

  • When using a chain saw, make certain it is equipped with an anti-kickback chain that is well sharpened.

  • Garden tools such as rakes, spades, forks, pruning clippers, files and metal plant stakes should not be left lying around when not in use.

  • Wear proper eye protection when using any power tool.

  • Don't wear any loose or dangling clothing that could be caught in moving parts.

  • Grilling Safety

According to the NFPA, gas and charcoal grills caused an average of 1,500 structure fires and 4,800 outdoor fires in or on home properties in 1999. To make sure your next barbecue doesn't go up in flames, use the following safety tips:

  • Designate the grilling area a "No Play Zone" keeping kids and pets well away until grill equipment is completely cool.

  • Before using, position your grill at least 3 feet away from other objects, including the house and any shrubs or bushes.

  • Only use starter fluid made for barbecue grills when starting a fire in a charcoal grill.

  • Before using a gas grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line to be sure it is working properly and not leaking.

  • Never use a match to check for leaks. If you detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas and don't attempt to light the grill again until the leak is fixed.

  • Never bring a barbecue grill indoors, or into any unventilated space. This is both a fire and carbon monoxide poisoning hazard.


  • Playground Safety

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), there were nearly 47,000 injuries on home playgrounds to children under age 15 in the latest year studied. The report also finds that over a ten-year period, more deaths to children occurred on backyard playgrounds than on public playgrounds. Adopt the following safety guidelines with playground equipment in your home, and also use the following guidelines to inspect any equipment in your neighborhood or school before your child plays there:

  • Cover areas under and around play equipment with soft materials such as hardwood chips, mulch, pea gravel and sand (materials should be nine to 12 inches deep and extend six feet from all sides of play equipment).

  • Do not suspend more than two swing seats in the same section of a swing support structure.

  • Check equipment for signs of deterioration or corrosion, including rust, chipped paint, splitting or cracked plastic components or loose splinters.

  • Avoid putting play equipment close together. For example, stationary climbing equipment should have an uncluttered fall zone of at least six feet in all directions of equipment.

  • Slides and platforms for climbing equipment should not exceed heights of six feet for school-age children or four feet for pre-school children.

  • Beware of entrapment or entanglement hazards. A child's head can be trapped in openings between 3.5 and nine inches wide.

  • Avoid elevated platforms, walkways, or ramps that lack adequate guardrails or other barriers (to help prevent children from falling).

  • Watch for possible tripping hazards such as rocks and roots. Clear this debris from your child's play area.

  • Always supervise children when they are using playground equipment.

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