How safe are backyard decks for young children?

If you have a child, you may love to spend time with him or her outdoors. After all, the weather in Southern California is perfect for year-round playing, learning and relaxing. Still, wooden decks can be dangerous or even deadly for the young ones in your family.

According to AAA, backyard decks can be extremely hazardous for a couple of reasons. First, builders may have constructed them in violation in applicable building codes, making them a risk from the outset. Furthermore, decks may deteriorate over time, essentially turning them into ticking time bombs.

Deck construction

Building codes place tight restrictions on deck construction. Depending on their height and other factors, decks must include compliant ledger boards, stringers, footings, railings and steps. Consequently, despite seeming like a DIY project, constructing a safe deck requires skill and precision.

Homeowners and other property owners have a duty to provide reasonably safe decks for visitors. Accordingly, if your child suffers a catastrophic injury on a backyard deck, it is advisable to investigate whether the deck’s owner has met this legal threshold.

Deck maintenance

A deck that initially complied with building codes and other safety standards may become hazardous over time. For example, untreated wood may be vulnerable to termite or dry rot damage. Likewise, screws and boards may loosen over the years, making them incapable of supporting body weight.

Responsible property owners understand the importance of inspecting their decks regularly for signs of damage and deterioration. Ultimately, if a property owner allows your children to play on an unsafe backyard deck, you may be eligible for financial compensation for any injuries they suffer.

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