Deck Safety Awareness Month: Top 8 Tips for Child-Proofing Your Deck

safety awareness month top 8 tips child proofing deck

There is no better time to discuss deck safety than during Deck Safety Awareness Month in May. While an unstable, deteriorating deck puts everyone who uses it at risk, children are perhaps in the most danger, as they are more prone to accidents and less aware of potential hazards. So, if you plan on letting your kids spend time on the deck, it’s up to you to ensure their safety. Let’s go over 8 key ways to child-proof your deck this season and beyond.

1. Keep Things Clean

The most basic forms of wood deck maintenance, such as sweeping, scrubbing, power washing, etc., are a great starting point for child-proofing your deck. After all, children are naturally curious and may be tempted to touch or ingest various types of debris on your deck, which can lead to illness or injury. Additionally, dirt, dust, and other loose materials can become a tripping hazard. By cleaning your deck on a regular basis, you reduce the potential of these problems occurring.

2. Remove Loose Paint and Seal Your Deck

Deck sealing isn’t merely meant to improve your deck’s appearance (though it achieves this as well)—sealing your deck is functionally a protective measure, keeping moisture, bacteria, pests, and other unwanted materials from gaining entry. If you don’t paint or stain your deck every 2-3 years, though, there’s a chance your coatings will begin to peel away from the surface. These flakes and chips can be toxic when ingested, so it’s important to scrape away loose paint or stain and reseal your deck when necessary.

3. Repair, Remove, or Replace Protruding Nails

The nails, screws, and/or fasteners that hold your deck together can lead to serious injury if they’re sticking out. If you notice any protruding components, then, determine whether you can fasten them back in place or if you need to replace them. Rusty, bent, or broken nails, for instance, are dangerous and often no longer useful, so they should be removed and replaced with new components.

4. Beware Loose Boards, Holes, and Other Hazards

Even relatively minor deck damage such as a single loose board or a few holes from pests can act as serious hazards, especially for children. Plus, these smaller issues tend to indicate a larger underlying problem, such as water damage, infestation, structural damage, etc. Simply put, don’t put deck repair on the backburner when you discover these warning signs—address the problem as quickly as possible so your deck remains secure for you and your children.

5. Install Gates Near Stairs

If your deck features stairs, know that these features present one of the biggest risks for child safety. As such, always make sure that the stairs are clear of decorations, toys, planters, and other objects that create a tripping hazard. Additionally, you may want to place a secure gate in front of the stairs to prevent children from accessing them unsupervised. And if the area behind your deck stair treads is open, the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) recommends that the opening be no bigger than 4” high.

6. Ensure Rails and Banisters are Secure

Speaking of stairs, you must also ensure that your deck railings or banisters are securely fastened and not decaying. The same goes for your deck’s structural components. The higher your deck is off the ground, the more important these matters are.

7. Cover Up Electrical Outlets and Features

If your deck features any electrical components, consider childproofing the outlets so children cannot place their fingers or small objects inside them. Also, be mindful of the placement of any electrical cords, as these create a tripping hazard.

8. Choose the Right Furniture and Take Proper Precautions

Keep child safety in mind when furnishing your deck, too. Try purchasing deck furniture without easily collapsible components to avoid pinching hazards. Avoid furniture with sharp edges, and, if you paint your furniture, use non-toxic products and keep children away while the paint is still wet. Keep all furniture away from ledges and stairs. And if you have a grill and related items (i.e. lighters, starters, cleaning fluids, charcoal, etc.) on your deck, make sure children cannot easily access them.

As summer approaches, your kids will want to enjoy time outside just as much as you do. If you want to enjoy your deck together, though, make sure everyone can do so safely. At SEAL-A-DECK, we offer all the decking services you need to keep your deck safe, secure, and looking its very best. To learn more about us or to schedule a deck check-up today, give us a call at 978-538-7325.


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