Backyard entertaining has been complex in the past years. Backyard season is being extended with the help of fire pits. Today’s playsets consist of more than just a simple set of swings and slides. Backyard entertaining may mean spending time by the swimming pool or cooking.
The backyard also offers a world of fun for your young children. Playgrounds in your backyard offer even more chances for adventure. This is one reason why the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents to always supervise their children while playing outside, even inside their homes. Here are some safety tips to help keep your summer fun and free from any possible danger.
Backyard Safety Basics
Start by giving your backyard a make-over when you plan to do some gatherings or just simply playtime for your young children:
- Always check to see and know whether your fences are sturdy and in good repair. You should know that they’re free from splinters and rust and that your toddlers cannot open your gates.
- Keep your hoses after each use so your young children don’t trip over them.
- Hang ladders in a shed or garage so your children cannot climb or play on them.
- Keep your pathways clear of the toys of your children so that no one including you trips over them.
- Always make sure that your children are indoors when you are using a lawnmower or other possibly dangerous tools such as a saw, hedge trimmer, or weed whacker.
- Keep all your garden tools out of your children’s reach and store them with tines, blades, or spikes pointing downward.
Garden Water Features
You can beautify your backyard with fish ponds, waterfalls, and other water features and this can add serenity to your backyards. They can also attract children and can be a potential drowning hazard if proper protective steps are not placed. You should take note of the following:
- Young children may drown in as little as an inch or two of water. Adults like you should watch children at all times when they are in the water or even near water.
- We also suggest using a rigid, lockable cover or fence on all four sides as you would also place for a swimming pool.
- Also, tightly cover water treatment or chemical mixtures after you use them.
Trampolines can be ultimately fun for kids since they can jump and turn their whole bodies around. However, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, they are the main cause of nearly 100,000 injuries each year. Let us avoid this by taking note of the following:
- We suggest limiting the number of jumpers to one at a time.
- Supervision is essential for children at all times. Look out for your children why they use the trampoline.
- Remove trampoline ladders after use so that your young children won’t be tempted to play on them while you are away.
- We also suggest using trampoline enclosures. These can help prevent injuries from falls from trampolines.
- Lastly, we also suggest anchoring the trampoline and the enclosure to the ground by using a trampoline anchor kit.
Playsets or playgrounds are being enjoyed by children of all ages. However, damaged or weather-worn playsets can, of course, cause accidents. Kindly take note of the following to avoid accidents in playsets:
- Always supervise your children.
- Regular check your playsets for sturdiness, rusty bolts, and wood rots, and making other necessary repairs.
- Always inspect playsets for openings too between pieces that could trap a child’s head or neck.
- We also suggest placing your playsets securely on the level groups and on wood chips or other more soft materials to cushion falls. This is to prevent injuries.
Warm nights are the very perfect time to roast marshmallows and have a chit chat with your family throughout the whole night. However, insufficient supervision or improper use of fire pits can cause injury. Please take note of the following so accidents can be avoided during fire pits:
- We suggest placing the fire pit in a safe spot away from your home, backyard deck, or low-hanging tree branches.
- Always have adult supervision if your children are involved in fire pits and roasting marshmallows. Always have your eyes on your children while the fire pit is in use and until it has cooled off.
- Never leave the fire while no one is around.
- Use sand to fully extinguish the fire.
- Let the used coals cool completely and throw them in a metal container.
Lawnmowers can easily cause injury for people who use them to clean their lawns. We suggest following these tips for your safety:
- We suggest reading the mower’s manual, heed safety and operating instructions, and also learn the controls of the mower itself.
- We also suggest not allowing children to ride as passengers on a riding lawn mower and keep your children a safe distance away from it while you use it. This is preferably out of the yard altogether while mowing.
- Another is cleaning your toys thoroughly as well as other objects such as rocks from the yard to help avoid injuries to you, your loved ones, and your pets due to flying objects.
- Never leave a running mower unattended. Always be alert while you use it.
- Never operate the mower in an enclosed place where carbon monoxide can gather. This can poison anyone.
- We also suggest never unclog or work on a lawnmower while the engine is on or when the spark plug is still connected.
- Always wear non-slip shoes or boots while you use a lawnmower. Do not use open toes shoes or even heels while you operate a lawn mower. Also, use hearing and eye protection too. We also suggest wearing long pants while mowing or trimming your lawn.
Are there possible ways to gather outside during the pandemic?
Here are some ways for safe, cold-weather entertainment during coronavirus.
Many are wondering about the safety of hosting outdoor gatherings during the pandemic as the temperature starts to get cold and most of the country moves into freezing months. You may have witnessed your neighbors hosting a draft party in his garage. Or maybe, you’ve even been invited to a friend’s house for a backyard bonfire for a grill or simply just roasting marshmallows with the kids.
However, how safe are these outdoor get-togethers in this time of pandemic? And, is it still worth the freezing cold?
It is essential to first acknowledge what we know about the transmission of COVID-19 according to emergency medicine physician Baruch Fertel, MD.
- Please be aware that you can mostly catch the virus from the air you breathe so good ventilation and physical distance are some of the best kinds of protection.
- We also suggest wearing face masks regularly since this greatly reduces the rate of transmission for both yourself and those around you.
The following truths should be on top of your mind to help you determine the risk level when you’re debating whether or not you should attend any event during the pandemic.
Dr. Fertel explains the science behind outdoor vs. indoor activity and what to always keep in mind if you plan to gather outside.
Can you catch COVID-19 outdoors?
Yes, you can absolutely still catch the virus if you go outside.
According to Dr. Fertel, there have been numerous examples of large, outdoor gatherings becoming superspreader events of the coronavirus. He further explains that just because you’re outside, it doesn’t mean there aren’t any risks at all. The very best protection comes from proper ventilation, physical distance, and also wearing face masks.
A good example to visualize how the virus can simply spread is to imagine everyone around is smoking. To prevent other people’s smoke from going into your face since, of course, no one wants that, you’d distance yourself away from the smokers. This could easily be done if you were outside and you’d notice the smoke of the cigarettes disappearing. But, if there’s a chance that you were inside and everyone around you is smoking, it would be difficult for you to get away since the smoke would stay and linger and there’d be no room to spread out.
So, merely just being outside is not a guarantee that you won’t get the virus. However, we, of course, know that it’s better to be outdoors than indoors.
Gathering outside in the cold during the pandemic
We assure you that there are ways to gather outside and still be safe and warm if you absolutely cannot bear one more virtual or online hangout and you live in an area where it gets too cold. However, of course, you’ll need to take the proper precautions and ensure that the small group of people you’re interacting with will also comply with the precautionary measures. We have to repeat that just because you’re outdoors, this doesn’t mean that you can’t catch the virus.
Dr. Fertel further explains that if we decide that it’s worth it to be a little uncomfortable in the cold and you’re willing to do things safely, it is reasonable to host or attend a small outdoor gathering.
Garages and tents
You might want to use garages and tents to keep you dry and have them as a heat source to keep you warm if you live in an area where it might rain or snow. A lot of people have decided to turn their garages into gathering areas and have bought tents.
According to Dr. Fertel, a makeshift garage hangout is a good idea as long as the garage door is completely open and there is enough air that is coming through. If you can also open any other windows or doors in the garage to allow for more airflow. And, always remember that no matter how small your gathering is, the people shouldn’t be close together once you’re inside the garage.
Things can get complicated with people gathering inside tents. The most desirable thing to do is when all sides are up or if you use a canopy because of the airflow. However, unless the tent or canopy is fairly big for the number of people attending, then you’ll have a hard time maintaining six feet of physical distance between other people. However, it is much better to gather indoors if there’s only a little or no airflow in the tents you’re using.
Hypothermia can happen in as little as 10 or 15 minutes in very cold temperatures. This is very dangerous for babies, young children, and also older adults. So, always take note of your group’s age and also their health when planning an outdoor gathering and if it’s safe for them.
According to Dr. Fertel, a lot of people think that if they’re cold and uneasy then they are already safe from the coronavirus which couldn’t be far from the truth.
It is essential to ensure that your guests aren’t too close together to get to the warmth even though having an outdoor heat source will make everyone present more comfortable. It comes down to space, set up, and safety whatever heat source you use.
A portable fire pit may be a good idea if you’re ok with tending to a fire inside your home but you have to be sure that your guests won’t be breathing in smoke and that no one gets burned due to the portable fire pit. You could also choose to give your guests air-activated, disposable hand warmers to keep and take home.
Some more good options are outdoor heating lamps, heated patio furniture, heated blankets, and portable heaters. Just please be aware of extension cords, flammable objects, burns, and overloading sockets. You should also take note that electric space heaters cannot cause carbon monoxide poisoning. However, fuel-burning space heaters can and should only be used in well-ventilated areas. Don’t also forget that it now gets darker in many areas much earlier. Ensure that there is enough and plenty of light in your outdoor space so guests won’t trip and fall. We also suggest using string lights or solar or battery-operated lights around the area.
Cold-weather entertaining tips during coronavirus
Take note of the following when you plan to gather outside during the cold:
- Always take note that you have to stay at least six feet away from others. Use chairs or put tape on the ground where others should stand or sit. Having physical reminders or barriers will help people be aware of maintaining physical distance from each other.
- You should also limit your group size. In all seriousness, your group size needs to be as small as possible. Understandably, you want to get together with your friends or family. However, of course, precautionary measures should be followed and maintained as urged by Dr. Fertel. Small gatherings are much more reasonable and preferred such as one additional family or household. You should also be able to ask your group what other precautions they’ve been taking. You have to know if it is similar to yours or not. Always remember that the fewer people you invite, the lower the risk.
- Always wear a face mask. We all know that it’s no fun to wear a mask especially if you’re eating, drinking, and also socializing with someone you haven’t seen in a while. However, in case you haven’t heard, face masks are proven to reduce the spread of the virus. Between eating such as sips and bites and of course, even when you’re talking, you should be wearing a face mask properly. This is especially needed if you’re high-risk or interacting with someone who is.
- Stay warm and wear layers if you’re planning to gather outside. You should wear layers so you can take a layer or two off and put them back on as needed. You should also wear a hat and gloves and we also suggest bringing lots of blankets along with you.
- If you’re drinking during the gathering, monitor how much alcohol you’re consuming. This can be dangerous during a global pandemic and also when consuming alcohol in cold weather. Instead, try to alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and take note that you won’t drink them altogether.
- If you plan to go inside the house, also wear a face mask and be quick. You’ll need to spend the majority of time outside during your family/friend gathering. However, if you decide to take a quick toilet break, please wear your face mask, wash your hands, and don’t stay long inside.
- Also, take note that you have to move around. To stay warm outside, it’s ok to do some kind of small physical activity but it’s not the time to play football or other games where you can be close in contact with other people. Instead, we suggest trying dancing with enough and plenty of space, playing with a frisbee. We also suggest not touching your face between throws without washing your hands or using hand sanitizer first.
Standard homeowners insurance protections
A basic homeowners insurance policy safeguards your home’s structure or your house per se, your personal belongings in case they get destroyed such as an incident such as a fire. These are generally called “package policies” meaning that the coverage includes also the liability or the legal responsibility for any injuries and damage to your property caused by you or your family members including your pets.
Insurance for condominiums and apartments will cover your belongings, liability and also certain parts of your interior structure as set by laws or your proprietary lease.
Renters insurance also provides similar property and liability protections to people who don’t own their homes.
All kinds of home insurance also provide additional living expenses coverage for extra costs of living away from your home if it’s not suitable for you for the meantime due to damage from an insured disaster.
Please always be careful when you decide to hang out with your family and friends during this pandemic. Always consider precautionary measures. We hope this blog entry was also able to help you and that you were able to learn a lot from it.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions in mind.