Spring Safety – National Playground Safety Awareness Week
This week (April 25-29) is National Playground Safety Awareness week. We know just how important it is for kids to get outside and play, exploring the world around them, but safety on playground equipment is equally important. Children of all ages as well as their parents and the towns and municipalities that provide public playgrounds to their communities need to understand the potential dangers of playground equipment and how children can get hurt if it’s defective, damaged or they aren’t using it properly. Here are a few safety tips for everyone to follow.
- Post safety rules
Make sure safety rules are posted clearly for everyone to see, including hours of access and age guidelines for equipment.
- Evaluate the equipment
Determine where there is potential for injury and make sure the equipment provided or being installed is appropriate for the ages that will be using it. Make sure there are no high surfaces for children to fall from. Also, look for head entrapment risks to prevent children’s injuries from getting their heads stuck between railings.
- Perform routine inspections
Inspect equipment monthly to determine if it has any broken parts, rust, peeling or flaking paint, or sharp points or edges that could cause injury.
- Check playground surfaces
Make sure that the ground material used in the playground is material that is appropriate for impact. Concrete and grass are not suitable types of ground cover. Wood chips, rubber mulch, sand or pea-sized gravel can be used to minimize impact when kids fall.
- Age safety
Big kids play differently than little kids. It’s very important to have a separate play area for children under the age of 5 and ensure that the children are using the age-appropriate equipment.
- Provide adequate supervision
There should be an adequate number of adult supervisors on duty for the number of children playing, depending on the ages and needs of the children.
- Enforce safety rules
Teach children of all ages that actions like pushing, shoving, and roughhousing can be very dangerous on a playground. Remind kids to keep their distance on equipment like swings or ziplines. Always make sure children are using the equipment appropriately (e.g., going down the slide sitting down, feet first, sitting down on a swing, never hanging upside down from monkey bars or jumping off tall surfaces, etc.)
Spring and Summer playground safety
- Dress appropriately
Make sure children are dressed appropriately for playtime, with closed-toe shoes and no dangling earrings or necklaces that may get caught somewhere. Make sure that your child’s clothes don’t have loops or drawstrings that may also get snagged. It’s a good idea to tie back long hair as well.
- Slippery when wet
Most playground equipment can become slippery when wet. Never let children play on wet equipment or while it’s raining outside.
- Check the weather
Some playground equipment can become dangerously hot in the summertime, especially metal slides, steps and handrails. Even plastic can heat up to uncomfortable temperatures in the summer sun. If the equipment feels hot to the touch, don’t let children play on it, as this can result in contact burns, even from just a few moments.
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