Well I broke down to the neighborhood peer pressure and mowed my yard. I am not the guy that has to be the first one on the block to mow my lawn, in fact I hold out as long as possible. I also don’t mow it down to look like a putting green because I like the feel of green grass on bare feet.

I do remember my father-in-law telling me to mow the lawn on Friday so it looks nice for everyone driving by on the weekends, and I try to follow his advice. The weather has started to mellow out and we now have some nice days to get our outdoor project going.

So let’s talk about safety when working outside. Backyard entertaining has gotten more elaborate in recent years. Fire pits are helping homeowners extend the backyard season, and today’s playsets involve more than a simple set of swings and a slide.

Whether backyard entertaining means spending time by the swimming pool or gathered around the grill, here are some safety tips to help keep your oasis fun and free of danger. There is a kind of soothing atmosphere to the sound of running water.

Maybe that’s why I like to go north and take the canoe, kayak or pontoon out on the lake as much as I can. You see lots of people installing garden water features to enjoy those sounds right in their backyards. Fish ponds, waterfalls and other water features can add a note of serenity to the backyard.

They are also particularly attractive to young children, and can be a drowning hazard if proper protective steps are not put in place. Children may drown in as little as an inch or two of water. An adult should watch children at all times when in or near water.

Use a rigid, lockable cover or fence in all four sides as you would for a swimming pool. Tightly cover water treatment or chemical mixtures after use. Lots of backyards have places for kids to burn up all that energy and that’s a good thing. Get them off the couch and outside to enjoy the great outdoors.

Trampolines can be fun for kids, but according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, they are the cause of nearly 100,000 injuries each year. Avoid being a statistic; limit the number of jumpers to one at a time. Supervision is needed for children at all times.

Remove trampoline ladders after use to prevent unsupervised access by young children. Trampoline enclosures can help prevent injuries from falls from trampolines.

Anchor the trampoline and enclosure to the ground by using a trampoline anchor kit. Playsets can be enjoyed by children of all ages, but damaged or weather-worn playsets can cause accidents. Stay safe by supervising children at all times. Regularly checking for sturdiness, rusty bolts and wood rot, and making necessary repairs.

Make sure to inspect playsets for openings between pieces that could trap a child’s head or neck. Placing playsets securely on level ground and on wood chips or other soft materials to cushion falls and help prevent injuries. Everyone loves so sit around the fire pit and cook s’mores, hot dogs or popcorn.

But inadequate supervision or improper use of fire pits can cause injury. Be smart: place the fire pit in a safe spot away from your home, backyard deck or low-hanging tree branches. Always require adult supervision around the fire pit while it is in use and until it has cooled off. Never leave the fire unattended.

Use water to fully extinguish the fire. Let the coals cool completely and dispose of them in a metal container. When it’s time to do those yard or garden chores plan ahead and take safety precautions. Lawn mowers can easily cause injury.

Follow these tips for safety: Read the mower’s manual, heed safety and operating instructions and learn the controls.

Do not allow children to ride as passengers on a riding lawn mower, and keep children a safe distance away, and preferably, out of the yard altogether while mowing.

Clean up toys and other objects, such as rocks, from the yard to help prevent injuries to you, your loved ones, and pets due to flying objects. Never leave a running mower unattended.

Never operate the mower in an enclosed place where carbon monoxide can accumulate. Never unclog or work on a lawn mower while the engine is on or when the spark plug is connected. Always wear non-slip shoes or boots (no open toes or heels), and hearing and eye protection.

It is also preferable to wear long pants while mowing and/or trimming your lawn. Gardening can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get physical activity, beautify the community, and grow nutritious fruits and vegetables. If you are a beginner or expert gardener, health and safety should always be a priority.

Get vaccinated. Vaccinations can prevent many diseases and save lives. All adults should get a tetanus vaccination every 10 years. Tetanus lives in the soil and enters the body through breaks in the skin. Because gardeners use sharp tools, dig in the dirt, and handle plants with sharp points, they are particularly prone to tetanus infections.

Before you start gardening this season, make sure your tetanus/diphtheria (Td) vaccination is up to date. Ask your health care provider if you need any other vaccinations. Know your limits in the heat. Even being out for short periods of time in high temperatures can cause serious health problems.

Monitor your activities and time in the sun to lower your risk for heat-related illness. If you’re outside in hot weather for most of the day you’ll need to make an effort to drink more fluids.

Avoid drinking liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar, especially in the heat. Take breaks often. Try to rest in shaded areas so that your body’s thermostat will have a chance to recover. Stop working if you experience breathlessness or muscle soreness.

Pay attention to signs of heat-related illness, including extremely high body temperature, headache, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or unconsciousness. Watch people who are at higher risk for heat-related illness, including infants and children up to four years of age; people 65 years of age or older; people who are overweight; people who push themselves too hard during work or exercise; and people who are physically ill or who take certain medications (i.e. for depression, insomnia, or poor circulation).

Eat healthy foods to help keep you energized. Gear up to protect yourself from lawn and garden pests, harmful chemicals, sharp or motorized equipment, insects, and harmful rays of too much sun. Wear safety goggles, sturdy shoes, and long pants to prevent injury when using power tools and equipment.

Protect your hearing when using machinery. If you have to raise your voice to talk to someone who is an arm’s length away, the noise can be potentially harmful to your hearing.

Wear gloves to lower the risk for skin irritations, cuts, and certain contaminants. Always use insect repellent containing DEET. Protect yourself from diseases caused by mosquitoes and ticks. Wear long-sleeved shirts, and pants tucked in your socks. You may also want to wear high rubber boots since ticks are usually located close to the ground. Lower your risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Wear long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, sun shades, and sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher.

Until next week, stay safe

Chief Rindfleisch