Going to the local playground is usually a favorite activity for young children. All the climbing, swinging and sliding enthralls our children and fills them with excitement and laughter. However, playgrounds are also a ripe location for many childhood injuries. According to the CDC, around 200,000 children are treated at emergency rooms and urgent care centers every year due to playground accidents that result in injuries. A large percentage of these injuries are due to falling accidents and many more are the result of being hit by some type of playground equipment, such as a swing or see-saw arm. Here are three playground safety tips to help avoid common playtime accidents.
Check your surroundings:
When you arrive at a playground or other outdoor play area, check your surroundings. Look for any obviously damaged equipment. Loose bars, bolts and screws or other pieces could come loose and hit a child or cause a fall. Also, check that trash is not littering the play area. Keep an eye out for any broken glass or other harmful items that may be around the playground’s surface area. Check the surface of the playground’s for safety materials. Most new playgrounds are covered with hardwood mulch, pea gravel or shredded rubber. If a quality play surface is not in place, you may want to find another area to play. Finally, check to make sure that a good line of sight exists from all angles of the play area. As an adult, you should be able to see the child you are supervising from anywhere that you are standing. The child should very easily be able to put their eyes on the adult they are with.
Too many outdoor accidents occur because the adults that were supposed to supervising children became distracted. ALWAYS pay attention; watch children and assist them when they are on slides and monkey bars. Stand close by where they are playing in case they need assistance. Also pay attention to the equipment the child is playing on. Most playgrounds have several pieces of equipment or even different zones for variously aged children. Most of these have general age guidelines, but an adult should be familiar with the child’s general maturity and abilities when allowing children to play on equipment.
Discuss safety rules with children and drill them often. Develop two or three safety guidelines that even small children can understand and remember. Continually go over these rules with the children you will be supervising on a playground. The number one rule should always be that the child can ALWAYS see the teacher, babysitter or parent they are with. Teaching children the importance of taking turns and not crowding on equipment can also prevent painful accidents.
These tips to avoid common outdoor playtime accidents can be crucial to the safety of the children you supervise or to your own children. Help prevent playground accidents by being proactive and planning ahead by being observant and teaching children safety rules in advance.