When you think of summer and outdoor spaces, home safety may not be the first thing on your mind. But only some tweaks to a few things around the house can result in a safer, more enjoyable summer for you and your family.
- Review your family's fire safety plan this summer. Have emergency numbers and an escape plan, and make sure every one understands what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure you have fire extinguishers at hand before you use barbecues, outdoor grills or fire pits.
- Go over fire safety rules with children if they are old enough to understand. Don't leave matches, candles, fireworks or grill lighters unattended where small children can get to them. It is a good idea to erect barriers to prevent small children from getting too close to barbecues or fire pits.
- If you buy any new upholstery, make sure it has the Upholstered Furniture Action Council (UFAC) hangtag, which ensures it was manufactured to meet the industry's voluntary fire safety standards.
- Only buy sturdy patio furniture that won't tip easily or fold up suddenly. Go over the manufacturer's instructions for important safety information when you buy new outdoor furniture.
- Be careful with reclining and folding furniture. Make sure that children know they are not allowed to jump or play on them. Younger children should always be supervised.
- Children should not be allowed on outdoor tabletops. As so many are made of tempered glass, they can shatter causing injuries. Toys and tabletops don't mix, either.
- Do not place furniture close to railings, especially near pools as younger children can easily climb over.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions for opening and operating your market umbrella. Children should not be allowed to play with or operate the umbrella. Always make sure that it is adequately weighted to prevent tipping over. Also, always close and store your umbrella when storms are in the forecast, as umbrellas can turn into flying projectiles in strong winds.
- Before you begin using your outdoor furniture, examine it carefully for signs of wear and tear. Some older pieces may have become splintered or rusted. Straps can become frayed and woven seats can break down. Look for bent or broken mechanisms. Repair or replace damaged pieces to prevent injuries.
- When cleaning or repainting older outdoor furniture, use non-toxic cleaners and paints.
- Falls are a leading cause of injury in the home, outdoors as well as inside. And a lot of falls happen as a result of tripping over clutter. Provide storage for clutter in the form of patio storage benches, or buy other outdoor furniture that provides storage as well.
- Store all yard and gardening equipment safely, making sure to keep all chemicals out of reach.