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How to ‘Childproof’ Your Outdoor Spaces

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july29homespunweb.jpgBy Marshall Loeb

RISMEDIA, July 29, 2008-(MCT)-Summer is upon us and that means kids will be spending more time outdoors. If you are concerned about your child’s safety outside, there are some steps you can take to calm your worries.

From Consumerreports.org, consider these four tips for childproofing the outdoors:

- Stay vigilant around lawn and garden equipment. If you plan to do lawn work done with heavy equipment like the lawn mower or the hedge trimmer, keep your child inside. This will limit any potential for accidents. And don’t pour fuel in an enclosed place, such as your garage, where the fumes may become hazardous. Always restrict such activities to an open area.

- Lock up the pool. Enclose your pool with a four-sided fence and a self-locking gate. This will keep kids out when they’re not supposed to be swimming, or when there’s not adequate supervision. You can also consider pool alarms in addition to the fencing. Pool alarms will sound an alert when people are in the pool when they’re not supposed to be. Take note, though: Many pool alarms are prone to false alerts.

- Safeguard porch or deck railings. Make sure that the space between balusters on a porch or deck measure less than 3 inches. Anything wider than that may be an open invitation for an accident of some form. If the spaces are wider than 3 inches, consider installing a mesh or plastic railing guard.

- Make sure that the terrain under the swing set is soft. Cover up the grass, which can cause all sorts of injuries in a hard landing, and replace it with cushier materials. You can put down a layer of ground cover, like mulch. Extend it 6 feet from the equipment in all directions. This will lower the risk of cuts, scrapes and broken bones.

© 2008, MarketWatch.com Inc.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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