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How to Make Every Yard Safe

Your backyard might appear to be a safe place for your kids to have fun. But it may contain a number of hidden hazards. You must be aware of unsafe places in your own yard. It's important to ensure safety in your own backyard, not only for the kids, but for pets and grown-ups as well. A little bit of caution will keep your yard safe and sound.

Common yard items such as plant food, fertilizer, petals and leaves can be toxic, if not fatal. You encounter many challenges in the yard like excessive water or a steep slope. The question is how safe are you in your yard? Here are a few things that might need some work.

Ensure the safety of the swing-set since children do fall from them often. It's important to ensure that the ground cover beneath them is safe. Ground covers of grass or packed dirt prevent serious head injuries. The ground below should be soft and shock-absorbent. Wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel or rubber matting up to a depth of at least 12" are all sufficient. Also, extend the circumference out at least six feet beyond the equipment so kids are protected in every direction.

Invest in high-quality equipment that's sturdy and will hold over time. Inspect it regularly. All components should be securely anchored to the ground. Fix protruding nails or bolts, smooth out splintered surfaces, and make sure S-hooks are fully closed. Constantly conduct safety checks. See that edges remain rounded and are not sharp. Slides should deposit kids into open, unobstructed areas. Teach kids never to slide down headfirst.

Rope swings are fun but require extra vigilance. Always supervise a child closely on rope swings. Do not allow kids to wear drawstring sweatshirts or necklaces when they're on play equipment as this poses a strangulation risk.

Sandboxes are great creativity builders, but you should make sure to get one with a cover. Covers not only keep sand clean and fresh longer but keep out pets, bugs, and most importantly, your children when you're not watching.

Always supervise your child when playing. Accidents can be avoided by being ever vigilant. Never leave lawn mowers, pruning shears or power tools lying out. Likewise, keep garden chemicals out of reach. And you should also make firewood piles off limits as stacked logs are a falling hazard. Finally, if you have a backyard pool you need to be extremely cautious; make sure it's completely fenced in and locked.

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