Playtime is important for children. As Plato once stated, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”. However, playtime can also be hazardous for children, particularly on playgrounds. Every year in the United States more than 200,000 children go to the emergency room with playground related injuries. Playgrounds are places of revelry and enjoyment, but there are various steps parents/guardians can take to lower the risk of injury.
- When it comes to playscapes, make sure the surfaces they are on are made of materials such as wood-chips, mulch, sand, mats, or pea gravel. These materials are much less harsh than concrete, should a child fall to the ground.
- Check the structure for sharp edges, dangerous protruding hardware, broken rails, etc.
- Supervise your child’s play at all times, particularly if they are playing on/with items that could cause harm such as nets or ropes.
- Keep the child’s bike, backpacks, bags, and other items away from the play area so no one trips.
- Be aware of what the child is wearing. Clothing with drawstrings or accessories could get tangled or stuck on the equipment.
- Check the playground area for bee/wasp nests. If a child was to knock one over or fall on it by accident there could be extreme injuries involved.
- Teach your child playground safety rules such as: no pushing other kids, go down the slide feet first, do not stand up on swings, or anything else that could be dangerous if unsupervised.
Playgrounds are meant to be a fun and creative environment for children. As long as precautions are taken, rules are taught to children, and the playground structure is safe then children can have fun with less chance of injury.