A backyard can be a sanctuary, a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors in the privacy of your own property. However, many homeowners may not be aware of the potential liabilities that can arise. While it may seem like a safe and harmless place, a backyard can still present risks for you and your guests. From swimming pools to play equipment, here are the backyard liabilities you should be aware of as you entertain family and friends this summer.
Although they’re undoubtedly a fun pastime, trampolines have the potential to be quite dangerous. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against buying a trampoline for your home due to the numerous injuries that can occur when misused.
To ensure all safety measures are in place with your home trampoline, make sure of the following.
- Trampolines should be on level ground away from trees, fences and other potential hazards.
- Always use a properly installed enclosure to prevent falls and injuries.
- Confirm that the trampoline has shock absorbing pads that cover springs, hooks and the frame.
- Make sure only one person is using it at a time.
- Children under 6 years old should never use full-size trampolines.
- Speak with a AAA insurance agent before setting up a trampoline on your property as they are excluded from some homeowners policies.
The unfortunate reality of drinking at social gatherings is that some impaired attendees may choose to drive themselves home afterward, risking not only their life, but others on the road as well. In 2020, over 200 fatalities occurred on the Fourth of July at the hands of alcohol-impaired drivers.
If throwing a holiday bash or celebration that involves alcohol, have guests who plan to drink sleep over or make arrangements for a sober ride home. In addition, making sure all backyard furniture and structures like porches or decks are properly maintained structurally sound to avoid accident or injury. With plans in place, plus good food and great friends, there should be nothing keeping you from enjoying your next backyard bash.
As a host of any social event, you are responsible and liable for expenses should something go awry, from weather-related cancellations to injury. Make sure you are protected with comprehensive event insurance from AAA, which includes policies for general or liquor liability, medical payments and more.
Pools are a symbol of summer, but they’re also one of the biggest backyard liabilities. With drowning being one of the leading causes of death for children in the United States and more than 6,500 children and adolescents needing treatment for diving-related incidents annually, it’s imperative that every precaution be taken when using any pool.
- Never leave children unattended. Designate an adult who isn’t distracted (reading, texting, listening to music, etc) to watch them.
- Teach children not to play or swim near drains or suction outlets. Make sure no one enters the pool if there are any loose or broken drain covers as hair, limbs, jewelry and bathing suits can become stuck.
- Make sure the pump is off while the pool is in use, and teach others how to shut it off in the event of an emergency.
- Install at least a 4-foot fence with self-closing and latching gates around pools. Check your municipality’s requirements for specific measurements in your area.
- Provide depth indicators around the pool.
- Educate children on the dangers of diving and how to dive safely.
Between 2006 and 2021, fireworks-involved injuries rose 25%, with tens of thousands of injuries occurring each year. The legalities surrounding fireworks vary by state, so make sure you are always in accordance with regulations before purchasing and setting them off.
Remember, if you allow someone to light off fireworks on your property, you could be liable if there are injuries or other issues.
Barbecues and Fire Pits
Grill fires on residential properties cause an average of $37 million in damage per year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. To limit the likelihood of such an event, always keep your grill at a safe distance from flammable items and high-traffic areas (think: back door or where guests frequently enter and exit).
Fire pits are a similar backyard liability, with related injuries spiking in recent years. Before using a fire pit, make sure your city or town allows them. To make accidents less likely, build fires at least 10 feet away from the home or any other structure, always have a fire extinguisher on hand, never use flammable liquids to start a fire and do not attempt to light fires on windy days.
Always keep kids and pets away from all fire sources and never leave fires unattended.
Protect your home and property with homeowners insurance from AAA. Schedule an appointment to speak with an agent today.