Safety Tips for Swimming Pool Parties and Backyard Cookouts and BBQs

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Summer time is here which means it is a popular time for Jacksonville and North Florida families to plan backyard barbecues and pool parties. As such, many people in Florida and nationwide will end up taking unexpected trips to the ER; nearly half of all unintentional child injury related deaths occur in June, July and August. Underwriter Laboratories (UL) is an independent non-profit global safety organization that is urging families to make backyard safety a priority this summer.
Following are a few unsettling statistics:
-Each summer an estimated 2.7 million children visit the ER due to injuries around the pool or backyard
-Barbecue grill fires resulted in 7,900 home fires for each year between 2003 and 2006
-Each year 200,000children under 14 go to the ER for play set-related injuries
-For those families that have swimming pools, 4,200people every year visit the ER with pool or spa-related injuries
-Unfortunately 10 people die each day from drowning in the United States.
In light of these statistics, UL recommends that families visit The Backyard Safety Explorer to test the safety of their outdoor space before allowing the kids to play in the yard.
The UL has also provided safety tips for grilling, pool and playground safety:
Grilling Safety
• Keep grills at a safe distance from any structure. Grilling mishaps cause more than 8,300 fires and send 3,000 people to the emergency room each year. Never grill indoors or near garages or porches, even if it’s raining.
• Never leave the grill unattended, especially when young children or pets are nearby.
• Have a spray bottle or fire extinguisher close to the grill to put out the fire, should one occur.
Pool Safety
• If you have a pool at home, install a fence. The fence should be at least four-feet high and have a self-closing, self-latching gate that has a locking mechanism beyond a child’s reach.
• Supervision is a must. Follow the 10/20 rule when you’re at the pool. The 10/20 rule states the supervising adult needs to position themselves to be able to scan the pool within 10 seconds and reach the water within 20 seconds
• Flotation devices, toys and inflatable swimming aids are not safety devices. They are toys and can easily puncture and deflate.
• Empty small wading pools after children are done playing and remove all toys. Infants can drown in just a few inches of water. Pool toys may attract children to the pool when it is unattended.
Playground Safety
• Carefully inspect backyard playground equipment. Make sure equipment is anchored safely in the ground, all equipment pieces are in good working order, S-hooks are entirely closed, and bolts are not protruding.
• Check for spaces that could trap children like openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs. These spaces should measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
• Install protective surfacing, such as rubber tiles or mulch under the play set, at least six feet in all directions, to prevent serious injuries should a child fall.
For more information on this topic, see tips to stay safe during backyard BBQs and pool parties

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