Every year, more than 200,000 children between the ages of 1 and 14 are seen in emergency rooms due to playground injuries in the United States. Many of these injuries are life-altering or even deadly. To help ensure that kids stay safe at the playground, parents and caregivers should consider the following tips.
Adequate supervision is essential for preventing injuries at the playground. In fact, Safe Kids Worldwide reports that approximately 45 percent of serious playground injuries are associated with the lack of proper supervision. Children cannot always identify playground hazards or foresee dangerous situations by themselves, and some children tend to test their limits or show off their abilities by taking unsafe risks. Young children should always be supervised by a competent adult when playing at the playground.
Play Equipment Inspection
Parents and caregivers should always conduct a thorough inspection of all equipment before allowing their children to play. They should be on the lookout for broken or damaged parts, rusted areas, missing or loose guardrails, and older equipment with unsafe designs. Well-maintained, modern playground equipment is designed for safe play. Unfortunately, not all playgrounds are designed and maintained in the safest manner possible.
Inspection of the Surrounding Area
Areas underneath and surrounding play equipment should be inspected as well. Ground surfaces should be covered with a soft material like wood chips, mulch, or sand. They should also be free from trash, excessive toys, and other objects. Additionally, parents should make children aware of tree stumps, rocks, or other hazards that might hinder safe play.
Dressing Appropriately for the Playground
Parents and caregivers should ensure that their children wear appropriate clothing and shoes when headed to the playground to prevent injuries. Items such as drawstrings, scarves, purses, and necklaces can get caught on equipment and cause falls or strangulation. Additionally, dangling shoelaces, flip flops, and shoes with slick soles should be avoided.
Setting Rules and Limitations
It is essential for parents and caregivers to enforce safe playground rules to keep kids safe. Pushing, shoving, our crowding should be prohibited and children should avoid playing on equipment that is not age, size and ability appropriate.
Being Prepared at the Playground
It is a good idea for parents, caregivers, and older children to learn how to respond in the event of a playground emergency. They should also familiarize themselves with basic first aid and CPR just in case tragedy strikes.