The swings! The seesaw! The slide! The jungle gym! The playground is a wonderful place for children to have fun and get exercise. They can build their social skills as well as meet and learn how to interact with other children.
Unfortunately these magical places can also be the sites for injuries. According to kidshealth.com, over 200,000 children are treated for playground-related injuries in the ER every year. Here is a short guide to help keep your children safe.
Actions you can take
- Inspect the playground’s surface area before allowing your children to play on it. Is the surface safe? If it is made out of non-impact absorbing surfaces such as dirt, grass, gravel, concrete or asphalt, avoid it. Find a playground that is surfaced with sand, pea gravel, wood chips, mulch or rubber (both in the form of shredded rubber or as mats). Ensure that there is no broken glass or other debris littering the area.
- Inspect the playground’s equipment to ensure there are no rusted or broken parts that could be a hazard. Report any damaged equipment to the proper authority.
- Ensure that your child is on an age-appropriate playground. The equipment for toddlers and younger children is built to their needs and skill sets. Having younger children play on equipment designed for older ones exposes them to risks for injury.
- Teach your children basic rules for playing on the equipment. For detailed descriptions on how to play on the swings, the seesaw, climbing equipment, etc. read these.
- Teach your children other basic safety rules as described below.
- Teach your children how to interact with others and when to get help from an adult.
- Always watch your children while they are playing. This allows you to be aware of any potentially dangerous situation before it develops and to be on the spot in case of an emergency.
- Bring along an emergency kit. There are compact and fully loaded kits available. By having one with you, you are prepared to handle any scrapes, splinters or other emergencies that may come up with speed and confidence.
Basic playground rules to teach your children
- Wear proper clothing and shoes. Do not wear anything that has drawstrings or cords because these can get caught and may be a strangulation hazard. Also, don’t wear purses, scarves or necklaces for the same reason.
- Do not leave backpacks, bags or bikes lying near the playground equipment. These could cause others to trip and fall.
- Wear sunscreen to help prevent sunburns.
- Wear helmets when biking, but take them off when playing on the playground.
- Do not push or roughhouse while near or on the playground equipment.
- On hot, sunny days, check the playground equipment before using it. If it is hot to the touch, it is not safe to play on.
- Do not go on equipment that is wet because it will be slippery and unsafe.
Following these simple guidelines will allow you and your children to get maximum enjoyment while swinging, sliding, climbing on the playground.