Kids sustain injuries in the playground most of the time. Every year, over 200,000 children are estimated by the National Playground Safety Institute to undergo treatment for injuries occurring on playgrounds. What’s more is that around 45 percent of those playground-related injuries involve amputations, dislocations, concussions, internal injuries, and severe bone fractures. Public playgrounds are the sites where 75 percent of nonfatal injuries happen. And most of the incidents take place in daycare centers and schools.
Playground-related injuries are easy to avoid by simply exercising caution and paying attention to certain factors that may lead to accidents. Here are the things that you can do to ensure that your kid is kept safe from playground injuries.
Carefully observe the playground area
- Are there blind spots preventing you from watching over the activities of children? Make sure that you can see what they are doing while in the playground and to supervise them accordingly.
- Carefully scrutinize the ground before you allow children to play. Look for anything that poses potential danger, including broken equipment, glass shards, litter, sharp objects, etc. Also, be wary of tripping risks brought about by concrete footings, rocks, and tree roots or stumps.
Check the playground equipment
- Ensure that children are playing on equipment that’s suitable for their age group.
- During hot days, metal equipment can heat up and cause burns. Metal slides located in non-shaded areas can grow hot, so you need to check them first before you let children play on them. Moreover, make them wear shoes when they are on the playground.
- Anything elevated, such as platforms and ramps, must be fitted with guardrails to thwart falls.
- Small spaces—between 3.5 and 9 inches—can ensnare children. Make sure to watch out for equipment spaces within that measurement range.
- Snagging on bolts and S-hooks is also a problem. S-hook gaps that can fit a dime may be potentially hazardous because they can catch children’s clothing.
- Do not forget to check for sharp edges, pointed parts, splintered wood, and cracked plastic equipment.
Inspect the playground surfacing
- Safe and suitable playground surfacing usually includes loosely filled materials, the likes of engineered wood fiber, sand, shredded rubber, and pea gravel. Such materials should also be well maintained and filled at sufficient depth. It is recommended that loose-fill material must have a depth of 12 inches.
- Rubber mats and tiles are safer surfacing options. The no-no’s for surfacing under any playground equipment include asphalt, concrete, dirt, and grass.
- Fall zones for playground equipment must be 6 feet in all directions. When it comes to swings, the fall zone length must be twice as tall as the post from which the swing is suspended.
- Talk to the playground operator as soon as you see any potentially unsafe area. That way, it gets addressed immediately.
Oversee children on the playground
- Eliminate all loose objects, such as clothing drawstrings and necklaces, before your kids enter the playground.
- Remove your child’s bicycle helmet. It is only appropriate for use when a child rides a bike. When a kid is simply playing on the playground and still has a bicycle helmet on, the helmet straps can cause strangulation.
Your children’s playground safety is something you can directly influence. So take charge while you allow them to have fun.