Playground Safety Tips

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By Little Harvard

Playgrounds and outdoor play equipment offer kids fresh air, friends, and exercise. So let’s have a look at these playground safety tips.

It is important for parents to make sure that faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behaviour don’t spoil the fun.

Many playground accidents can be prevented with the proper supervision. You can make the playground entertaining and safe for your kids by checking equipment for potential hazards and following some simple safety guidelines. And teaching kids how to play safely is important: If they know the rules of the playground, they’re less likely to get hurt.

Design & Safety

The most important factors in evaluating the safety of any playground are proper surface, design and spacing, and equipment inspection and maintenance.

Playground equipment should be designed for three different age groups: infants and toddlers under 2, 2- to 5-year-olds (preschoolers), and 5- to 12-year-olds (school-age kids).

In the safest playgrounds, play areas for younger children are separated from those meant for older kids and signs clearly designate each area to prevent confusion.

Younger children should not play on equipment designed for older kids because the equipment sizes and proportions won’t be right for small kids, and this can lead to injury. Likewise, older kids shouldn’t play on equipment designed for younger ones. Smaller equipment and spaces can cause problems for bigger kids.

A proper playground surface is one of the most important factors in reducing injuries that occur when kids fall from equipment. The surface under the playground equipment should be soft enough and thick enough to soften the impact of a child’s fall.

Because swings, slides, and climbing equipment are so different from one another, each requires a different set of safety considerations. And some kinds of equipment are not safe for playgrounds, no matter how careful kids are.

Adult Supervision

Adult supervision can help prevent injuries by making sure kids properly use playground equipment and don’t engage in unsafe behaviour around it. If an injury does occur, an adult can assist the child and administer any needed first aid right away.

Kids should always have adult supervision on the playground. Young kids can’t always gauge distances properly and aren’t capable of foreseeing dangerous situations by themselves. Older kids like to test their limits on the playground, so it’s important for an adult to be there to keep them in check.

Before you visit a playground, check to make sure that play areas are designed to allow an adult to clearly see kids while they’re playing on all the equipment.

Playground equipment should be designed for three different age groups: infants/toddlers/preschoolers under 2, 2- to 5-year-olds, and 5- to 12-year-olds, school-age kids.

In the safest playgrounds, play areas for younger children are separated from those meant for older kids and signs clearly designate each area to prevent confusion.

Younger children should not play on equipment designed for older kids because the equipment sizes and proportions won’t be right for small kids, and this can lead to injury. Likewise, older kids shouldn’t play on equipment designed for younger ones. Smaller equipment and spaces can cause problems for bigger kids.

Maintenance and Inspection

Whether your kids play on a home or public playground, it’s important for you to take a general look at the equipment to make sure that it is clean and well maintained.

  • There should be no broken equipment.
  • Wooden equipment should not be cracking or splintering.
  • Metal equipment should not be rusted.
  • The fence surrounding a public playground should be in good condition to prevent kids from running into surrounding traffic.
  • Playground equipment should be made of durable materials that won’t fall apart or worn down too much by the weather.

Teaching Kids About Playground Safety

Safe playground equipment and adult supervision are extremely important, but it’s only half of the equation: Kids must know how to be safe and act responsibly at the playground.

What to teach our Kids:

  • Never push or roughhouse while on jungle gyms, slides, seesaws, swings, and other equipment.
  • Use equipment properly.
  • Always check to make sure no other kids are in the way if they’re going to jump off equipment or slide, and land on both feet with their knees slightly bent.
  • Leave bikes, backpacks, and bags away from the equipment and the play area so that no one trips over them.
  • Always wear a helmet while bike riding, but take it off while on playground equipment.
  • Never use playground equipment that’s wet because moisture makes the surfaces slippery.
  • Check playground equipment in the summertime. It can become uncomfortably or even dangerously hot, especially metal slides, handrails, and steps.
  • Wear clothes that do not have drawstrings or cords. Drawstrings, purses, and necklaces could get caught on equipment and accidentally strangle a child.
  • Wear sunscreen when playing outside even on cloudy days to protect against sunburn.

Play is an important part of kids’ physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development. Following these safety tips will help your kids play as safely as possible.

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