Surprising Backyard Dangers
One of the perks of having a backyard is being able to turn it into your own little sanctuary. If you have young children, that sanctuary can include play things that keep them active and occupied. Any activity comes with risks, especially if it involves kids, but there are certain ones that seem innocent on the surface despite some serious dangers.
We’ve highlighted three of those activities below, along with advice from experts on how to help keep kids safe.
You don’t see many adults on backyard trampolines – they are typically a child’s domain. That’s why it might surprise you to find out that doctors recommend against children using trampolines.
According to reports, trampolines are responsible for almost 100,000 emergency room visits every year. The injuries can be serious – including broken bones, spinal injuries, and even head injuries. Injuries typically occur not because kids fall off of trampolines but because they land on one another.
Doctors’ number one piece of advice? Don’t use trampolines. This is backed up by the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, if you do allow your kids to use one, make sure you supervise and that it has an outside net.
If you’ve ever rented or bought a bounce house for some backyard fun, you know that the inflatables draw kids like moths to a flame. A big, colorful, bouncy toy in the shape of a castle or with a slide – what’s not to love?
For starters, the injuries that come with them.
Thousands of children are injured in bounce houses ever year, and some of those injuries are even fatal. The incidents that make the news most often involve bounce houses blowing away. The ones that aren’t reported on as often involve kids getting stuck on bunched up material, trapped in netting, or crashing into one another.
Experts recommend a few things to help kids safe. They call them the three “Ws of bounce house safety”: Weather, workers, and warranty.
Weather is the first safety concern and can quickly make inflatables dangerous. Most manufacturers recommend taking kids out of bounce houses when the winds hit 20 miles an hour or more. They say if your clothes are flapping in the wind it’s time to get the kids out.
Workers are the second “W.” Parents should make sure there is always an operator present or an adult supervising bounce house activity. Only kids of the same size should be inside the inflatable together and the rules of maximum occupancy should always be followed. Finally, the bounce house needs to be properly tethered. This means using 30 – 40” metal stakes, not small plastic ones.
Warranties are the final “W.” If you’re renting a bounce house, you should always ask to see the company’s current insurance policy and inspections. There no national inspection guidelines and some states have thorough inspection programs while others have none at all, so it’s a good idea to ask about your state.
Hammocks are great for relaxing and enjoying warm weather, but like everything else, they must be used properly. This is especially the case with kids, whose motor skills might not be able to handle the sometimes surprising movements of a hammock.
Here are some steps to follow to help keep everyone safe:
- Step 1: Check your hammock carefully before you use it. If you notice any defects, contact the manufacturer.
- Step 2: Choose the right place to hang the hammock. This is especially important if you are hanging your hammock from trees. Sometimes people unknowingly hang their hammock from a dead tree, thinking it looks sturdy. Even a small amount of weight can cause dead, weak, or young trees to snap.
- Step 3: Only hang the hammock as high as you’re willing to fall. Even adults lose their balance in hammocks, and mastering the art of maneuvering in a hammock can be particularly tricky for kids. Make sure it’s at a height that makes it easy for kids to climb in and out.
Backyard Injuries Can Catch You Off Guard
Getting hurt in your own (or a loved one’s) backyard can totally catch you off guard. You never expect that something that is a part of your home or that seems totally innocent can have life-changing effects.
As you try to wrap your head around what has happened, you shouldn’t have to also worry about legal concerns or medical bills. That’s our job. We also understand that if you were injured at a friend or family member’s house, you might be worried about taking legal action. It’s important to know that you won’t sue them – your claim is filed against the homeowner’s insurance company.
That’s just one of the many things that might be on your mind, so if you have any other legal questions or concerns, feel free to get in touch with us 24/7.
“How safe are bounce houses for kids, really?” PBSNewsHour. October 20, 2015.
“Safety Rules With Hammocks: Be Cautious of Making These Mistakes.” July 27, 2016.
“Trampolines are no place for kids, docs warn.” NBCnews.com. September 24, 2012.
“What E.R. Doctors Wish You Knew.” Parents.com. July 27, 2016.