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The Ultimate Backyard Safety Checklist

On long summer days, kids can occupy themselves for hours in your backyard. (Where do they get all that energy!?)

Whether your yard has a simple swing set or a brand new in-ground pool, it’s a parent’s job to check that everything is in good working condition – and set some ground rules for safety.

Unfortunately, it only takes a small slip-up to spoil the fun. Each year, more than 200,000 kids are treated in hospital ERs for playground-related injuries. Fortunately, you can prevent many of them if you know what to look for around your backyard. Not sure where to start? Follow this list.

The Ultimate Backyard Safety Checklist

Swing sets

If you have young children, there’s a chance swings or an outdoor play set are in your backyard. But did you know that a few small changes can make a big difference in protecting your kids?

To start, install your play equipment on level ground and, if possible, set it in concrete for added stability. Then, add energy-absorbent material like sand, rubber mulch or wood chips underneath the set to help cushion falls. Opt for swing seats made of a soft material like rubber or plastic instead of wood or metal. And periodically check to make sure no screws or bolts are uncapped, rusted or broken.

If your play set is made of wood, inspect the frame for wood rot and other signs of decay.

On hot, sunny days, playground equipment – both metal and plastic! – can heat up to temperatures high enough to cause second-degree burns. Build your playset in the shade if you can. Aim to schedule playtime for cooler hours of the day (like early morning or late evening), and prevent burns by checking the temperature of slides and swings before the kids go out to play.


Trampolines can get kids and adults of all ages jumping for joy. But backyard trampoline injuries result in more than 100,000 ER visits a year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission — making them a leading cause of backyard injuries.

Here are a few tips to improve trampoline safety. Start each year by regularly checking the condition of your trampoline fabric and springs. Check that your trampoline has shock-absorbing pads that fully cover the frame, hooks and springs, and avoid ladders which could give small children unsupervised access. Safety equipment like add-on cage enclosures can keep your little tumblers from bouncing off.

You don’t have to be “the fun police,” but some common-sense safety rules can go a long way to prevent injuries. Consider setting some ground rules like only one jumper at a time, no somersaults or no “double-bouncing.”


In the hot summer months, there’s nothing like cooling down with a refreshing dip in the pool. But remember that pool safety is an important component of home safety.

Install fencing that’s at least four feet high and features self-locking, self-closing gates. Regularly check and repair the pool’s drain and suction covers to prevent accidental entrapment. Monitor children at all times, and never let anyone swim alone. Have a pool hook, plenty of life vests, a ring buoy with line and a phone close by. Don’t forget to use a pool cover when the fun’s done. One final tip to consider: Remember that it’s a good idea for any pool owner to know the basics of CPR.

Tree houses

The tree house is an icon of backyard fun, offering children hours of entertainment and adventure. But since treehouses are often DIY projects, it's important to ensure they are a safe place for children to play. 

Choose a strong, sturdy tree that’s far away from electrical wires. Keep the house lower than 10 feet off the ground with a solid barrier wall that’s at least 38 inches tall. Don’t hang ropes or chains which can pose strangulation risks, and be sure to spread lots of mulch underneath the tree house. Each spring, check for rotting or wear on the tree house and branches supporting it and make any necessary repairs. You should also keep an eye out for poisonous plants like poison ivy, which can climb up trees like a vine.

Fire Pits

For many, having a bonfire means spending time with family, friends and (hopefully) indulging in some S’mores. But whether it’s a fire pit or a gas grill, open flames are always a safety risk. Place fire pits on a non-flammable surface (patio, blocks, concrete) and never put a fire pit directly on grass. Keep the fire small and don’t use gas or lighter fluid to ignite it.  Ensure it is completely extinguished before heading in for the night.

One more thing

Rest easy knowing the lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to build is protected with umbrella coverage – liability insurance that provides protection against the truly unexpected, often catastrophic, circumstances in which your home or auto policy does not fully financially cover a loss (or may not cover at all).

There is a myth out there that umbrella protection is only for the wealthy and risk-takers, but that is not true. The truth is, even the most safety-minded among us could someday face a personal injury or liability lawsuit, and if you’re held legally responsible for the damages, your financial assets—even future earnings—could be wiped out.

Fortunately, ERIE offers affordable umbrella policies. An umbrella policy adds an extra layer of protection to your auto and homeowners liability limits(policies range from $1 up to $10 million). The average customer’s annual premium is less than $250.

Find a local ERIE agent to talk you through your coverage options and help you find the right fit.

Low cost. Extra protection. See how an umbrella policy can help.

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.

The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time. 

Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 

The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 

Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.

Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.