House rules can prevent backyard injuries

Backyards can have hazards for both kids and adults


Reyonna Orr of Eastpointe enjoys playing in the backyard with her three children, 3-year-old Ariana, 7-year-old Ahmad, and 8-year-old Amir. But she has rules for the children when they are playing outside.

Her sons often play basketball and the ball ends up going over the fence. She never lets them climb the fence, they have to go around instead.  She also doesn't let them climb on the swing set or stand on the swings. However, she said she often has to remind them of the rules when she or another adult catches them doing something they know they're not supposed to do.

"Honestly, sometimes you learn a life lesson, so you get up there and you fall and you remember that you shouldn't have been up there. We just hope that that's how it ends and not at the emergency room because you broke something," Orr said.

During her interview with Local 4, she caught her daughter standing on a swing.

"That is something I worry about," said Orr.

"You can't stand, you cannot stand, it is not safe, can you sit down please," Orr told her daughter.

Experts said rules can be key to preventing injuries on play equipment including swing sets and trampolines.

"Rules are very important that every house has. It's rules for play, don't go up on the roof, don't stand up on a monkey bar, things that children sometimes like to do as daredevils," said Jack Zagrodzki, the vice president of marketing at the Doll Hospital and Toy Soldier Shop in Berkley.

The store has been selling play equipment for 35 years.

Zagrodzki also recommends parents maintain the play equipment they purchase.

After the swing set is first installed let the children have some good active play on it. Then go over the nuts and bolts and make sure they are good and tight.

He said to then check the components of a play set regularly. He said to look weekly under slides and roofs during the summer months for wasp nests. He said to get rid of the wasps but consider keeping the nest because wasps are territorial and it could keep another colony from setting up there.

Monthly, parents should check the nuts and bolts make sure everything is tight and the set doesn't start leaning. He said to check the chains and the hangers to make sure they are secure.

Zagrodzki recommends weekly checks of trampolines too.

"Make sure there are no holes in the netting. Make sure that they're secured down at the bottom of the trampoline, that they're bungied down, make sure all the straps are tight that the knots are in place. If you see something that's coming up or untying, it's simple, just tighten it back up," Zagrodzki explained.

"We worry about when the barbecue is on, one of my sons has actually touched the grill when it was hot," says Kristi Caster, a Ferndale mom.

Barbecue grills are another hazard.

According to Prevention magazine, a charcoal grill next to items that can catch fire like low-hanging trees or a wood-deck rail could be  a fire hazard. Grills should be kept about 10 feet away from a home, deck rail or plants.

Another hazard according to Consumer Reports is the lawnmower. Children should stay inside while the grass is being cut and should never sit on anyone's lap on a riding lawnmower.

"In general they know that anything that has power, any tool that has power including the lawn mower, they are not allowed to touch unless it's under our supervision like in the process of them learning," Orr said.

Orr said her oldest son is interested in learning how to cut the grass, so they are teaching him, but they must be there with him.

Portable pools of all sizes can be dangerous.  Experts said some parents don't take the risk of portable pools as seriously as they do in-ground pools.

Students find nine out of 10 portable pool drownings or near-drowning cases involve children 5 or younger.  Seventy-three percent of the accidents happen at a child's home and 40 percent of the drownings happened in a shallow wading pool.

Parents should empty wading pools immediately after using them, if not they should be treated as an in-ground pool with layers of protection including fencing, safety covers and pool alarms.

Pesticides can be a problem if children touch them and then touch their mouths.  These chemicals should be locked up and kept away from kids.

Another hazard can be some plants like azaleas.  Parents should check that their shrubs and flowers have no toxic properties.

Pay attention to places where there can be standing water like bird baths or buckets. They can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes can carry the West Nile virus.  Also, be sure to check yourself and your children for ticks. They could carry Lyme disease so call your doctor if you think you've been bitten.