Canopies are versatile, convenient, and durable enough to last for years. But canopies that are left unsupervised, or left to stand without proper ballast, can sometimes present a safety hazard for children and adults alike.
For parents who own canopies, making sure the canopy is secure enough to avoid injury is not an overly complicated matter. Still, it’s a task that’s absolutely necessary.
Canopy Safety Basics
In most cases, canopies are at their least safe at their very top and their very bottom. Rainwater and trash that can accumulate on top a canopy tarp can become dangerous when it falls off. At the other end, canopies that are not securely fastened run the risk of toppling over.
Make sure your canopy is kept clear of debris at the top, and use proper weight bags or other ballast to keep the canopy rooted firmly in place. Obviously, do not leave small children unsupervised around the canopy frame. Securely fasten all sidewalls, valences and headbands to make sure children cannot tear them loose. When standing the canopy on uneven ground, make sure weight bags are used wherever the canopy frame wobbles or tilts.
Although canopy frames are made from durable aluminum and steel, children should not hang from frame or truss bars as bending or twisting can result. Canopies tarps and sail shades are not toys and shouldn’t be used to make tents, forts, or for other playtime construction projects.
Dismantle Your Canopy In Severe Weather
Canopies should not be left deployed (set up) in severe weather. Strong winds and rain can damage the canopy tarp and frame, and leave branches, twigs, and other debris atop the canopy tarp. Very strong winds can even cause unsecured canopies to capsize, potentially tearing the tarp and possibly bending the frame or truss.
Once the storm has passed, uprooted or upended canopies present a danger to playing children: frame legs can trip or poke, and trusses can snare and twist ankles. To avoid risk of injury and damage to the canopy, dismantle the canopy at the first severe weather alert and store it in its box or storage bag.
Canopy Safety Around The Pool and Patio
Prevent your canopy from falling into the swimming pool by using weight bags to secure it firmly in place. Additional weight plates that affix to the canopy legs will help the weight bags exert maximum pressure on the canopy frame, increasing stability. Canopy tarps that fall into the pool present a potent safety hazard, so remove the canopy from the pool as soon as possible.
Sail shade canopies hang beautifully over patios, but make sure children don’t hang from its material or from its support cables. Besides the risk of falling, collapsing sail shades can block children’s eyesight and trip them up. The child’s weight can also distort or strain the cables, making the canopy sag and bulge out of place.
Other Safety Tips
Canopy frames with adjustable legs often use a telescoping mechanism that works much like the legs of a camera tripod. Though simple and convenient, its pinch-and-release operation can pinch small and uncoordinated fingers.
Storage bags are not toys; children shouldn’t try to hide in them, or remove the canopy from them unless an adult is present.
Cleaning and maintaining the canopy is a great chance to spend time with your child while teaching them the values of preservation and cleanliness. Though children should remain supervised, setting up and taking down the canopy is also a fun activity that parents can enjoy with their kids. Kids especially will relish the chance to “build” the canopy, and to pack it away when it’s time to leave.