The Heat Is On! Is Your Home Ready?

A could cuddling on a backyard swingWhat are the most common backyard danger zones?

Believe it or not, your backyard oasis can be an accident waiting to happen. Keep your family healthier at home: Don’t overlook these surprising hazard zones in your yard.  Here are four hot zones–and how to protect your family.

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Trampolines

Bouncing up and down on a home trampoline may look like fun, but the popular piece of backyard equipment is “intrinsically dangerous”

The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System estimates that 98,000 trampoline-related injuries occurred in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, resulting in 3,100 hospitalizations. That’s down from 3,300 hospitalizations and 112,000 injuries in 2004.

About 75% of trampoline injuries occur when multiple people are jumping, and kids 5 and under are usually at greater risk for significant injury. Fractures and dislocations make up 48% of injuries. Common injuries in all age groups include sprains, strains and contusions.

Green Weed-Free Lawn

Ingredients in popular pesticides have been linked to cancer, hormonal changes, and liver or kidney toxicity. Now research points to another surprising peril: mental health hazards. Numerous studies have found that farmers who work with pesticides have as much as six times the risk of depression; even farmers’ wives who use sprays in their homes and backyard gardens have nearly double the risk.

What you can do

Use an all-natural herbicide like corn gluten meal to keep weeds at bay. Apply it in early spring (when forsythia or dogwood first blooms) to prevent annual weeds from reseeding; it also fertilizes your existing grass with nitrogen, so it is healthier (and can crowd out weeds). To help your lawn grow a stronger root system and better withstand weeds, skip daily watering.

Tiny Pools of Water

Even the smallest amount of standing water can give mosquitoes a hospitable place to multiply, which raises your risk of bites–and infections such as West Nile virus. “I’ve seen mosquitoes breeding in a soda bottle cap,” says Joseph Conlon, technical advisor for the American Mosquito Control Association.

What you can do

Do a weekly check of buckets and plastic covers and dump any water to keep pests away. Also change the water in birdbaths and fountains.

Common Yard Plants That Can Kill

Before you throw down your spade and run from the garden for good, it’s important to know that even the deadliest of plants is usually harmless unless ingested or otherwise mishandled. If you have these plants in your backyard, protect your kids and/or plants. This includes: Oleander, Caster bean, Daphne, Lantana, Yellow Jessamine, and Monkshood.

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