A deck provides a space to grill out and visit with family and friends outdoors. Read on for tips to make your deck safe for children and pets.
Maintain a Surface that’s Safe for Children and Pets
Pets’ paws and kids’ bare feet will come into contact with the surface of the deck. Children are also more likely to play directly on the deck, increasing the chance of burns from hot materials, cuts, splinters, and scrapes.
Keep the surface of the deck in good condition. If nails start to protrude, drive them back in, or replace them with screws. Depending on the type of wood, you may need to sand and refinish your decking every year or two. Add an outdoor rug so there’s a comfortable place for children to play. If high temperatures are a concern, use a patio umbrella or large plants to create a shaded area that both children and pets will enjoy.
Make Your Deck Safe with Sturdy Railings
Falls are a hazard on any elevated surface. There is always a chance that a child or pet could fall through the railing or down the steps. Keeping those areas of the deck in good condition will go a long way toward making your deck safer.
Inspect the railing carefully. Make sure that all pieces are in good condition and fully secured nails or screws. Read up on local building codes to verify balusters are properly spaced. Test each of the stairs, checking for cracks, loose boards, and damaged supports that could pose a danger. Install safety gates at the top of each set of steps to keep kids and pets safely contained.
All the security features won’t take the place of adequate supervision. With an adult around, the deck will be safer for children and pets. Plan for supervision. If no one can be on the deck to keep an eye on young children, lock doors to prevent access. When the deck is being used, make sure there’s plenty of comfortable seating for guests and that someone is paying attention to kids at all times.
Check Drainage to Make Your Deck Safe
Keep an eye on gutters to make sure they aren’t overflowing and causing puddles on the walking surface. In the winter, remove ice and snow promptly. Bear in mind that salt may damage the wood, so remove the snow instead of using a snow-melt product.
Your deck can be a comfortable, enjoyable place for everyone when you work to make it safe for children and pets.