Now that spring has finally arrived, families are enjoying outings to local parks. Playgrounds are great places for kids to get exercise and explore. But more than 270,000 kids each year are treated in emergency rooms because of injuries on the playground.
So during Playground Safety Week (April 21-25), we want to remind parents about the importance of actively supervising your kids when they are playing on the playground. It won’t be hard – they will probably be calling for you to watch them climb, jump and swing. Put away your phone and remember that playing on the playground is good exercise for you too.
With active supervision and these 6 tips, you can help keep the playground a safe place for your kids.
Take your kids to playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces such as rubber, synthetic turf, sand, pea gravel, wood chips or mulch. If your child falls, the landing will be more cushioned than on asphalt, concrete, grass or dirt.
Dress appropriately for the playground. Most playground fatalities are from strangulation. Remove necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard. Even helmets can be dangerous on a playground, so save those for bikes.
Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous. Encourage the older kids to look out for the younger ones. Little kids play differently than big kids. It is important to have a separate play area for children under five.
When a child is hanging from the monkey bars, their feet shouldn’t be higher than where their waist would be if they were standing on the ground. Falls from the monkey bars are the number 1 reason for broken arms on the playground. The higher a child is when they fall, the higher the chances of breaking a bone. The momentum of their head can throw off their balance, making it less likely to land on their feet and then try to catch themselves with their hands.
Choose a slide that is the appropriate size for your child to go down alone and be at the bottom to catch them if something happens.
Don’t go down the slide with your child between your legs. This is a common way for a toddler to break their leg. Their foot can catch on the edge of the slide and rather than spinning around, the parent’s weight keeps pushing them forward with their leg still stuck on the edge of the slide.
More tips for playground safety http://www.uwhealthkids.org/kidshealth/parents/first-aid-safety/the-great-outdoors/playground-safety/22032.html
What’s your child’s favorite playground activity?