Playground Safety Pointers for Parents
The safety of playgrounds is a crucial concern. Play structures seem like a fun environment for kids, they can pose some real dangers too. Every year in the US, emergency departments deal with over 200,000 children for playground-related injuries. According to the CDC, almost 50% of such cases are serious.
To better understand playground injuries, there is a need for more research, but as a parent, you can take a proactive approach in terms of protecting your kids. National and State Level S.A.F.E. Plans First of all, ensure that you choose a playground that is in line with the National Program for Playground Safety. S.A.F.E. is an acronym for Supervision, Age-appropriateness, Fall Surfacing and Equipment Maintenance. This plan is effective on all three levels: national, state and national.
Without a doubt, the first and most crucial playground safety requirement is adult supervision. Adults need to be vigilant when it comesd to possible playground hazards, and even offer help as the children play.
Definitely, playground equipment has to be separated according to age level – 6 – 23 months, 2-5 years and 5-12 years. Make sure your smaller kids are not geting near larger structures. Go with a play area where administrators are concerned about people’s awareness of this specific part of safety, by putting labels on each and every play structure they have.
Grass, dirt and cement are all unsafe types of playground surfaces. Obviously, such surfaces are too tough and can cause severe falling injuries. Instead, a park should provide a falling surface made of loose fill materials at a minimum depth of 12 inches.
Choose a playground where structures which are always being checked for damages or signs of deterioration, like cracks, rust or splinters on wood equipment. As a parent, you can help preserve your kids’ safety by looking around the play area yourself and informing management immediately if you find any maintenance problems.
While not part of the S.A.F.E. Plan, weather conditions in your area are an equally important concern when it comes to playground safety. With a heat index of over 90 degrees, equipment can heat up equipment enough to cause injuries to kids. On the other hand, when temperatures drop below -15 degrees Fahrenheit, this can be a health issue as well. Always look into these things before taking the kids out to play. Also stay in the loop in terms of looming severe weather.
Finally, it’s good to know that a good number of playground safety issues are related to clothing-related hazards. For example, loose strings can increase their risk for strangulation. Clearly, of these are realities that you as a parent should never take for granted.