Finding Parallels Between Playgrounds and Life

Tips for Ensuring Playground Safety

Playground safety is a critical concern. Though play structures look like a fun environment for kids, they can be very hazardous too. In the US, emergency departments treat hundreds of thousands of children year after year for injuries related to playground use. The CDC considers nearly 50% of such injuries “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.

Supervision

Adult supervision is the first and most crucial requirement of playground safety. Adults must watch for potential playground dangers and even assist children while playing.

Age-Appropriate Equipment

It is necessary for playground equipment to be separated based on age level (6 – 23 months, 2-5 years, and 5-12 years). Make sure your smaller kids are not geting near larger structures. The play area you choose should have a reputation for raising awareness for this particular side of safety, by providing the right labels for all the play structures in their premises.

Fall Surfaces

Grass, dirt and cement are all unsafe types of playground surfaces. These surfaces are clearly hard enough for a child to have severe injuries after a fall. Instead, a park should provide a falling surface made of loose fill materials at a minimum depth of 12 inches.

Equipment Maintenance

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 do your share in keeping your child safe by being observant yourself and by immediately reporting any maintenance issues you may find.

The Elements

Though not a part of the S.A.F.E. Plan, weather is an equally crucial concern that you have to consider in terms of 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. Consider these things before heading out to the playground. You should also be updated with severe weather conditions in the forecast.

Safe Clothing

Finally, know that a huge portion of playground safety issues are related to kids wearing the wrong clothing. For example, loose strings can increase their risk for strangulation. As a parent, these are all realities that you cannot afford to take for granted.

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