Playgrounds provide children with an excellent opportunity for exercise, social interaction, and fun. Unfortunately, more than 200,000 children annually will go to the ER for playground-related injuries. Moreover, 76% of child injuries occur on public playgrounds each year.
While it’s essential for kids to get a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise every day, it’s even more crucial to provide them with a safe and secure place to play. Here are a few of the best playground safety tips to ensure that your children enjoy their time outside with friends.
Teaching Kids About Playground Safety
Playground Safety Week shouldn’t be the only time when you should learn and practice responsible play outside with your kids. Start by teaching your kids to look out for their well-being. Help them understand that not every child will have the same muscle strength or motor skills as the others. In the same vein, not every child will develop simultaneously and be ready for different play equipment at different times.
Be sure to give them the encouragement and supervision they need while helping them stay on the appropriate equipment. Lastly, support them when the time comes that they’re ready to use a new piece of playground equipment.
Getting Ready to Play on the Playground
It’s also essential to ensure that everything is appropriately set up before your child even starts playing on the playground. First, ensure that your child is dressed for safety. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:
● Prepare for unexpected changes by bringing a blanket, jacket, or umbrella.
● Don’t dress your children in clothes that could get caught in the various playground equipment.
● Avoid clothing with drawstrings such as hooded sweatshirts or dresses since they can cause strangulation and other injuries.
● Your children should also be wearing shoes to reduce the risk of falling.
Children will need to be protected from harmful UV rays. While it’s easy to forget about how damaging sunlight can be when on playgrounds, it’s up to you to check the following for your kids:
● Ensure that they are wearing a hat
● Apply sunscreen to lessen burns
● Take preventative measures to prevent excessive sun exposure
Adult Supervision Is Key
Supervision shouldn’t be limited to just young children-- it’s essential for kids of all ages. Make sure that you’re not the only one supervising your kids and prepared to intercede if necessary. Have other people that you can trust with your child’s care who would be responsible in case of an injury or dangerous situation.
One way to achieve this is by training teachers or supervisors who can keep kids safe while on the playground. Just be sure never to leave the playground unattended.
Safe Equipment Guidelines
There are plenty of common playground injuries that can be prevented when equipment is checked first. It also helps to report any hazardous materials around the area. A thorough sweep of the playground is the key to preventing many accidents.
If you locate any dangerous materials by the playground, such as unsafe equipment or broken glass, be sure to tell the person in charge or let other adults know. This way, you’ll get the help you need, and your kids can get back to playing. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your child has a safe space to play in:
● Perform routine checks to make sure that everything is safe to use
● Ensure that there are no ropes or strings present
● Make sure that the equipment doesn’t get too hot
Check for Safe Playground Surfacing
While some playgrounds may look like your kids will have plenty of fun using them, they could have inadequate surfaces to play in safely. They could also be poorly maintained, so no matter how much your child wants to play, it’s best to avoid such playgrounds. A few playgrounds that you should be wary of include ones with concrete or wood chip surfaces because these types of playgrounds can create unnecessary hazards.
Other examples of playgrounds to avoid include ones with non-impact absorbing surfaces such as:
It’s also best to ensure that an appropriate playground safety surface is provided. A safe surface is one of the keys to preventing injuries. It is recommended to look for poured-in-place rubber playground surfacing or rubber-like materials in a playground. Such materials can provide a cushion for children to fall on safely and is currently the best product in the market for their safety features.
A public playground safety checklist and additional safety guides can be found from the Consumer Product Safety Commission to help parents, school administrators, and teachers keep children safe. Be sure to share these guidelines and tips with others to help spread the word about playground safety.
Our friends at AdventureTURF authored this guest post. They provide commercial playground flooring for all kinds of playgrounds. Provide your facilities with safe, long-lasting, and maintenance-free floors; whether for a playground, school, or church, we have the right surfacing. Give us a call today at (414)-587-8873 to provide a fun and safe place for the children in your facilities.