Many playgrounds have slides, swings, monkey bars, jungle gyms, and more – all of which can provide seemingly endless hours of entertainment to children. While much fun can be had at playgrounds, it is the playground equipment that can instantly turn a fun time into tragedy.
According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report1, an estimated 1,786,008 injuries associated with playground equipment were treated nationally in emergency departments from 2001 to 2008. Of the 1,786,008 estimated emergency department-treated injuries associated with playground equipment from 2001-2008, approximately 1,026,539 injuries (57%) occurred at schools or parks, and an estimated 948,110 injuries (53%) occurred in the 5- to 9-years-of-age range.
From metal slides that can leave children with second- or third-degree burns in the summertime to the heights from which children can fall while on jungle gyms, there are numerous ways in which children can become injured while on playing on a playground. Some kids fall from monkey bars and break bones. Others are hurled from roundabouts. With so many opportunities for injury present on a playground, what can you do to keep your child safe?Making Sure Playtime is a Safe Time
There are ways in which you can reduce the likelihood of your children being injured while at play. Here are a few playground safety tips to keep your young ones safe.
- Avoid playgrounds built on concrete. Instead, opt for playgrounds that are built on soft materials, such as mulch, sand, or wood chips. Softer foundations mitigate the impact of falls and pressure to joints.
- Make sure guardrails are in good condition. Guardrails that are secure and in good condition can help prevent falls.
- Inform your children of the risks and best practices. It can be helpful to tell your children of the risks playgrounds present. While some children get caught up in the fun instead of heeding parental warnings, many children will take note and react accordingly. Additionally, speak to them about how they should behave to ensure that they stay safe while having fun by not running, being patient, staying aware of what is going on around them, and to use caution when playing on equipment.
- When it is hot outside, check to see if the equipment is too hot. Metal slides have given children second- and third-degree burns, but they are not the only ones that can leave your children with thermal burns. Plastic and rubber equipment, especially dark-colored ones, can burn children as well. If the equipment is too hot, consider taking your little one to the playground on a cooler day or at a time of day when the temperature is not at its peak, such as mornings or evenings.
- Monitor your children at all times when they are on the playground. All it takes is a moment of inattention for a child to be in a dangerous situation, so keeping your eyes on them constantly can provide you with some peace of mind and keep you in a position to immediately react if needed.
In conjunction with good judgment, these few tips can be the difference between a fun time on the playground and a trip to the emergency room.
1 CPSC report – Injuries and Investigated Deaths Associated with Playground Equipment, 2001-2008