Safety Tips for Parents and Kids Playing at the Playground
When the weather is nice, the playgrounds get busy, but preventable accidents occur too often. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, thousands of children are taken to the hospital due to injuries that occurred while they were using playground equipment. Approximately 104,000 kids ages 3-16 were treated for injuries from swing sets, this is where most accidents occurred according to 2011 data. Second place for injuries to occur happened at the slides with 80,000. Injuries from seesaw or teeter-totter accidents came up to 8800.
- bring children to playgrounds that feature shock-absorbing rubber mats or loose fill materials such as bark mulch, engineered wood fibers, sand, and fine or medium size gravel. In case of any falls, children are less likely to be injured because of the shock-absorbing materials. Playgrounds that have concrete, hard-packed dirt, asphalt, or grass are not as forgiving.
- match children to age-appropriate playground equipment. A two-year old will more likely tumble in a swing set that does not have safety bars.
- steer children towards swings made from plastic or rubber instead of wood or metal.
- check to make sure that the grips on monkey bars can be grasped by little fingers.
- teach kids to keep moving once they reach the bottom of the slide. Also check to make sure that there is enough space to get off the slide or merry go round.
- avoid playground equipment that have holes that could trap a child's head.
- choose a vantage point where they can always see their children at play.
Safety Tips for Kids
- Avoid wet playground equipment because it's too easy to slip and lose a footing.
- Remove excess material that could catch on equipment, such as hoods and drawstrings.
- Play the slide properly, sitting down and face forward. Move quickly away from the slide once you've reached the ground.
- Don't walk too close to the moving swings and seesaws.
- When the sun is high and the weather too hot, check the playground equipment for heat. You don't want to get burned.
- Always wear the right kind of shoes for the playground.
- Use handrails and climb any steps carefully.
With these safety tips in mind, children and parent will experience fewer injuries and happier play times.
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