Tips For a Kid Safe Deck
If you've got kids, these kid safe deck tips are good to know.
Chances are you've done
the rounds inside your house making sure that everything sharp, pointed, hot,
poisonous, or climbable is out of reach.
But what about outside?
Decks are the most popular outdoor feature in North
American homes and the number one outdoor project to build. But even ground
level decks can be unsafe if kids aren't supervised.
Let's face it, if there's
any way to turn a potential hazard into an actual one, kids will find it.
Here are a few tips for kid-proofing your deck that will result in a safer
outdoor space for children and adults alike.
- Clean your deck regularly to be free of slimy green algae and debris that
collects where water pools, making the surface slick and dangerous. A stiff
bristle brush should do the trick with a mild detergent or deck cleaner.
Remember to thoroughly hose down your deck after scrubbing.
- Repair popped nails, broken boards, and splintery spots. Keeping a regular deck
maintenance schedule will go a long way to avoiding stubbed toes and
splinters. Nails that work their way loose over time should be hammered back
down. And every year you should check for splintered or broken boards and repair
them immediately. Old decks that have been badly maintained are a haven for
splinters so a good sanding to smooth out rough areas is a must. To sand a large
deck area to a silky smooth finish, use an orbit sander with 80-grit sandpaper,
- Install security gates for decks with stairs, an obvious tip but important
nonetheless. Gates should swing inward when installed so that if a child leans
on it and it isn't shut properly, the gate doesn't swing outward causing the
child to topple down the stairs.
- Install railing guards. These are protective
mesh guards that attach to deck railings and banisters with ties or
screws and prevent children from climbing or forcing
heads and limbs between the spindles.
- Ensure that sliding doors or French doors that lead onto your deck have
appropriate locking mechanisms to keep little ones from venturing out onto the
- Keep all types of deck seating, tables, hose caddies, and deck storage
boxes-anything that kids can climb onto-away from deck railings.
- Secure or anchor patio heaters and free-standing umbrellas so that they can't be easily overturned.
- Practice safe barbeque grilling habits. Position barbeques in a spot where kids
can't touch. When grilling, the barbeque should be at least five feet from a
wall and never left unsupervised. Remember that a barbeque is still hot to touch
well after the cooking is done, so little hands can still be seriously burned.
Follow these tips and you will have a kid safe deck.
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