Insurance

Got backyard toys? Play it safe this summer

DATE | 08/09/21
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Did you make a “pandemic purchase” for your backyard this past year?

Many people have added more entertainment choices to their homes in recent months. Outdoor options like pools and trampolines can be great fun for a family. But it’s important that you understand some of the realities regarding both safety and insurance coverage.

Captivating to children

Some things are so attractive to children that they can also pose a real and sometimes life-threatening hazard.

The term “attractive nuisance” refers to something that is likely to entice children and could pose a risk of injury. Pools and trampolines are two examples, as well as home playground equipment, tree houses, construction projects, old appliances, or even leftover sand or gravel from landscaping projects.

As a homeowner, you have the burden of taking adequate measures to protect children from these potential hazards. And you may be liable for any injuries that occur even if someone comes on to your property without your knowledge.

Make a (safe) splash

There’s a lot to love about a backyard pool. But like anything else, there is a price tag that comes with it in order to keep everyone safe and make sure you’re financially protected.

Safety tips

  • Drowning is silent, not noisy. If you see someone who looks like they’re just treading water, looks glassy-eyed, or has their head tilted back with their mouth open, ask them if they’re all right. If they don’t respond you may have less than 30 seconds to rescue them.
  • Always watch your children when they are in or near a pool.
  • Have a phone close by at all times.
  • Plan out a set of safety instructions and poolside rules and share them with your family, friends, and neighbors.
  • You should know how to swim and your children need to learn how to swim.
  • Make sure you’re up to date on the latest CPR techniques for adults and children. Visit redcross.org for classes.

Insurance considerations

You need a four-foot or taller fence around the pool with self-closing and self-latching gates. Most insurance companies like Member Benefits require a pool to be four feet from the ground to the top of the pool in order to be covered in the policy. For an in-ground pool, the yard must be fenced in.

Jump carefully

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages trampoline use due to the risk of bruises, sprains, spinal cord damage, and bone breaks. It reports that the number of trampoline-related pediatric fractures has been increasing each year, from 35.3 per 100,000 in 2008 to 53.0 per 100,000 persons in 2017.

Safety tips

  • Allow only one person on at a time, and no children under 6 years of age.
  • Do not attempt or allow somersaults.
  • Do not use the trampoline without shock-absorbing pads that completely cover its springs hooks and frame. Trampoline enclosures may help prevent injuries from falls.
  • Place the trampoline away from structures, trees, and other play areas.
  • Do not use a ladder as it can provide unsupervised access to small children.
  • Supervise children at all times.

Insurance considerations

Be aware—like many insurers, Member Benefits does not insure homes with trampolines. Consider your potential liability when deciding on whether to have a backyard trampoline.

Be sure you’re covered

Talk to your insurance company about your pool or trampoline so that you clearly understand the specific options, obligations, and coverages in your plan. If you have questions, give us a call at 1-800-279-4030.