May is National Deck Safety Month, so it’s a good time to evaluate the safety of your deck. Decks provide a relaxing outdoor space during the warmer months of the year and add value to your home. However, keeping kids safe on your deck takes some extra attention and care.
Keeping Kids Safe on Your Deck to Avoid Accidents
Even if you do not have any children of your own, you may entertain family and friends who do. Follow these five tips for keeping kids safe on any deck.
1. Double Check the Railings
If you have an older deck, make sure the railings are secure. Kids love to hang on the railings and play near them, so it’s important to know the railings are safe and won’t break away from the deck. If you have a ground level deck without railings, it is a good idea to add railings so kids cannot fall off the deck.
2. Add Safety Gates
Even if your deck is at ground level, kids can trip and fall off the deck or wander away from the deck and get out of the yard. Adding a safety gate to the deck is a smart way of keeping kids safe and contained on the deck. If your dog tends to run away, a safety gate will also help to keep your pet on the deck and not out roaming the neighborhood.
3. Measure the Distance Between the Slats
Just like with the older style cribs, you do not want a small child to get his or her head stuck between the spindles. If adding more spindles to your current deck is not feasible, consider adding some type of fencing to the existing railing to prevent any mishaps.
If you have a deck made with horizontal rather than vertical spindles, they pose an invitation for toddlers to climb. Fencing placed over the slats will keep children from climbing up and over the railings.
4. Keep the Deck Flooring Cool and Splinter-Free
Nobody likes to walk out on a blazing hot deck with bare feet. If your kids love going barefoot, you want them to be safe walking on the deck. If your deck flooring gets too hot to walk on, visit a local home improvement store and get outdoor floor coverings to keep your deck cool and comfortable.
Another option is to add an awning or umbrellas to the deck to keep the sunlight from directly hitting the floor. Splinters can also hurt kids with bare feet, so if your wooden deck is splintering, sand it and apply a protective sealant.
5. Keeping Kids Safe on Your Deck by Removing Obstacles
Move Chairs and Other Furniture Away from Railings
Kids like to climb on top of things like chairs and tables, which may give them just enough height to climb over the railings. Make sure furniture is in the center of the deck.
Keep Utensils and Other Small Things Out of Reach
Grilling utensils, oil lamps, and candles are safety hazards to small children. You can easily store these in an outdoor cabinet with a childproof safety lock.
If you have many potted plants on your deck, make sure these plants are non-toxic to pets and kids. Also, consider placing some of your plants in hanging baskets well away from curious kids.