11 Sneaky Backyard Dangers You Should Be Aware of This Summer
Summer is great, but it’s also the time of year when you’re outdoors more and at higher risk of falls, bug bites, and storms. Avoid trouble with these tips from health and safety experts.
Control the pests
You might expect nothing more than some pain, itchiness, and swelling from bug stings, but people with allergies can have life-threatening allergic reactions. According to Occupational Health & Safety, you should keep an eye on sting victims for extreme swelling and tenderness in the area of the stings, and watch out for hives and trouble breathing or swallowing. If you see (or experience) any of these symptoms, call 911—the reaction could be deadly. And see a doctor for stings near the eyes, nose, or throat. You can help ward off pests by wearing bug spray—and not using sweet-smelling perfumes. Here are some more bug bite symptoms you should never, ever ignore.
Stay far away from downed power lines
Summer storms can easily knock down power lines; don’t let curiosity kill you. Here’s what Carol Barajas, Duke Energy‘s vice president of environmental health & safety, has to say: “Stay away from downed power lines. If storms bring down lines, be sure to stay away and keep others, including pets, away from the lines and anything in contact with the lines.” If you see a downed line, call 911.
Watch power tools around the pool
Barajas stresses that electricity and water don’t mix. “Keep electrical appliances, tools, and toys away from pools, sprinklers, and other sources of water,” Barajas says. Here are some more hidden pool dangers you should know about.
Slippery pool decks, wooden decks, curbs, and holes can lead to stubbed toes or broken bones. “The best way to prevent slippage on your deck is to keep it clean,” recommends J.B. Sassano, president of the residential and commercial repair, maintenance, and home improvement company Mr. Handyman. Take a look around your yard for hazards—make sure any holes are marked and can be fixed. Lowe’s yard expert Matt Michaels advises that installing path and stake lights can help prevent accidents along footpaths by illuminating the walkway. “If you have a deck, attach lights to the structure and stairs to prevent falls,” he says.
Protect your pet
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Hosting a party or barbecue in your backyard this summer can lead to potential dangers for pets. “Have an outdoor trash can where you can dispose of scraps that could harm your pet; be sure to store food on a high surface away from pets,” suggests Michaels. “Feeding your pet human food can add weight and potentially be toxic—chicken bones, in particular, can become choking hazards.” Learn some more summer safety tips for your dog.
Guard against ticks
One easy and budget-friendly way to prevent ticks is to create a buffer zone around your lawn and garden, especially if you live near a wooded area, Michaels says. “Clear a three-foot-wide gap between your lawn and the wooded area,” he explains. “Simply remove leaves and other debris with a rake and fill the area with a band of bark or stone mulch.” Ticks are just one of the dangerous types of bugs you need to watch out for this summer.
Make your yard less desirable to mosquitoes by not letting water sit around, says Michaels. “Since mosquitoes need water to breed, getting rid of standing water around your home can decrease the number of mosquitoes that hatch in the area.” Be sure to empty water from anything in your yard that can collect it—watering cans, toys, and swimming pool covers.
Cut down on the bugs
Rely on insect and pest control products to eliminate and prevent pests. If you’re worried about using chemicals, you can opt for organic pesticides, which are nontoxic and effective, suggests Michaels. “Speak with a Lowe’s expert to see if you need an additional herbicide, rodenticide, or larvicide,” he says.
Place your grill properly
Be sure to keep your grill at least ten feet away from your house, says Michaels, and avoid placing it in a garage, in a breezeway, or under any flammable surface. Make sure to clean your flame tamers, burners, and grates with a wire brush to prevent fire hazards. Make sure you’re not making these other common grilling mistakes as well.
A poorly lit driveway
Installing security and floodlights with dusk-to-dawn or motion sensors will help you and your guests avoid accidents. It will also lessen the likelihood of criminal activity in and around your home. “When installing these lights, be sure to choose bulbs with wattage that’s high enough to illuminate your driveway but low enough to be confined to just your property,” advises Michaels. Here are some other hidden home dangers you should never ignore.
Fire pit placement
Fire pits are fun, but you need to make sure there’s enough room for you and your guests to maneuver around the pit comfortably. “Make sure you have ten to 20 feet of space around your new pit so things don’t get too crowded; also, keep the same distance from trees and debris,” says Sassano. Now that you know how to keep your backyard safe, learn about the summer health dangers you’re probably ignoring.