Having a deck provides a wonderful space for the whole family to spend time together while enjoying the outdoors. That deck space will provide even more family enjoyment once its made safe for kids. With that in mind, we offer a few tips for making your deck safer for kids to use.
The first suggestion in deck safety for kids is about access. Especially if it’s an elevated deck, you want to ensure that kids do not wander out onto it unattended and that they’re safe once outside. It’s important to keep any doors with access to a deck locked, and to ensure that a child cannot unlock it. Child safety experts recommend using locks that cannot be easily opened by a child as well as installing the locks higher on the doors.
Once kids are out on the deck, safety issues turn to containment. Deck railings with wide spacing between the spindles are dangerous for kids as they may become stuck in them or even fall through. If you are planning a deck build, plan for the railing spindles to be about three inches apart. If you have an existing deck with wide spacing in the railing, then there are a variety of railing cover and mesh options that will help keep kids safer while on the deck. It’s also important to keep taller furniture that kids can climb on away from the railings. If a child can climb on the furniture to get to the top of the deck railing, then it’s likely to happen. So take preventative steps.
Do you have a gate to any stairs leading off the deck? If small kids will be playing on the deck, then a gate is a must. Install a gate that will hold up to the weather. It will be more durable, provide better protection, and likely save you money in the long run. Also, as mentioned regarding the railing, don’t keep furniture pushed up near the gate. Ambitious children will use it to launch themselves over it.
If you enjoy using your deck for grilling and chilling, take extra precautions when kids have access to the deck. This includes setting your grill up in a space that is as out of the way of traffic flow as possible and making sure that you do not leave a hot grill unattended.
Last but not least, keep your deck maintained. Kids are magnets for splinters, loose nails, and the like. So give your deck an inspection on a regular basis with an eye to keeping it kid safe and fun.