Backyard dangers that can be fixed

Published 2:48pm Friday, July 6, 2012

This week’s column improves health by keeping you and your family safer. With warmer weather now here, more folks are spending time outside, but did you know that even your own back yard can be a place of danger?
That’s right. There could be dangers right under your nose you might never have considered. In fact, more than 200,000 children alone, visit hospital emergency rooms each year in the U.S., so let’s go over a few potential problems, and learn how to fix them.
1) Unsafe playgrounds. Play sets can pose a real danger, with jagged edges and hot surfaces. To fix: Make sure all playground equipment is covered with shock-absorbing material, and mulch around it at least 9-12 inches deep. Make sure play equipment has no dangling cords or ropes, as these could cause strangulation. Also, check slides, swings and steps during hot summer days, as these could caused sever burns.
2) An unfenced pool. According to the Home Safety Council, nearly one quarter of all drownings in the United States happen near home. An unfenced pool can attract and give easy access to neighborhood children and pets. Also, even though you may be an adult, or your kids are older, it’s never a good idea to swim alone. I can tell as a WSI (water safety instructor) for the  American Red Cross, I know of several certified lifeguards who actually drowned, because they were alone and got over confident in the water.
To fix: Install a four sided fence, whether you have an above ground or in ground pool. Make sure the fence is at least 5 feet high, with a lock on its gate. Never place patio furniture close enough to the fence that it may be used to scale the structure.

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