Your deck provides a space for you and your family to enjoy nice days and evenings outside. May is National Deck Safety Month. If you have children or pets, there are a few steps that you should follow to make your deck safe.

1. Gates Help Make Your Deck Safe for Children and Pets

It’s a good idea to install gates on your deck to block any openings and make your deck safe and secure.

  • If small children use the deck, a gate will keep them from falling down the stairs.
  • Pets have a tendency to wander and a gate will keep them corralled.
  • Make sure the gates have locks on them that are difficult for children to unlatch.

2. Railings

Choose a safe railing to surround your deck that will make your deck safe for your children and pets. The space between the slats should be small enough so little ones can’t slip through. If you have small pets, add some other reinforcement around the deck’s perimeter to keep them contained.

3. Interior Doors Leading to Your Deck

Even though your deck is a part of your living space, it may not be visible from the inside of your home. Don’t let your children and pets roam outdoors without your knowledge. Instead, make your deck safe by securing any doors leading to the deck.

4. Keep Your Deck in Good Repair

Decks will require a little maintenance to keep them safe for you and your family.

  • Wooden decks will splinter over time. Periodically check the wood for damage and signs of wear. If it’s beginning to show signs of age, a good sanding and a coat of sealer will make your deck safe again.
  • Nails may protrude from the surface of the deck causing a tripping hazard or other injuries to you, your children, and your pets.
  • You can maintain your deck by power washing it every year. Not only do dirt and grime build up, but moisture encourages the growth of mold and mildew which can be a health hazard for everyone. Mildew and mold also make the surface of the deck slippery when wet.

5. Plants

Be careful when choosing plants to decorate your deck. Plants with thorns or spikes can cause injury and some plants cause skin irritation or are toxic if ingested. Make your deck safe by placing any plants out of the reach of animals and children.

6. Make Your Deck Safe When Grilling

If you have a grill on your deck, make sure it’s located where children and pets can’t reach it. Accidents can happen very quickly. Never leave your grill unattended if it’s in use. Don’t grill underneath a deck awning, overhang, or low branches.

7. Shade Makes Your Deck Safe

Direct sunlight heats the surface of the deck, making it hot for bare feet and paws. Provide shady areas for pets and children by adding an umbrella, a sun shade sail, or planting shade trees nearby.

Monadnock Home Inspections provides home inspection services to Southern New Hampshire. Contact us to schedule an appointment.