Playgrounds are an important place for children. They give an opportunity for play, socialization and learning, but they are also a potential danger to them.
Playground safety is the responsibility, firstly, of the supervising parent, but also of the owners of the playground and the general population of the area it is in.
Over 200,000 children are treated in ERs (emergency rooms) across the country for playground injuries, most of which could have been prevented if there had been adequate adult supervision and better playground safety. Responsibility for children and their child safety needs to be taken seriously.
Your children are your responsibility; don’t allow anyone to take your kids to a playground unless you are positive they will be supervised as closely as you would yourself. When you take your kids, watch them.
It isn’t only your kids you need to watch; you need to be on the lookout for other children behaving dangerously. Teach your children playground safety rules, and make sure they follow the rules when attending a playground.
Encourage your children to look out for each other, and to also be aware of younger children, who often don’t think before they act.
Playground safety rules:
- No pushing or rough play on any equipment.
- Use all equipment correctly.
- Look before you jump – make sure no one is below.
- When you jump, land on two feet and bend your knees on landing.
- Only use the equipment that is designed for your age and size.
- Keep backpacks and bikes away from the equipment.
- Don’t use equipment if it is wet.
- Wear close-fitting clothing on play equipment; no drawstrings, jewellery, purses.
- Wear sunscreen to protect against sunburn.
Playground equipment has become safer and more sophisticated; even the surfaces covering the ground are soft and shock-absorbing. Only take your kids to playgrounds that have safe equipment in good working order.
Be sure to report any breakages or dangerous equipment to the appropriate authorities to ensure ongoing playground safety in your area. Look for these things at your playground to make sure it is safe:
- The surface should be soft and thick to reduce the impact of a child falling off equipment. It should not be asphalt, concrete, rammed earth or grass. A 12 inch-thick layer of wood chip, sand or mulch, not firmly packed, is appropriate, but the new soft-surface rubber products, designed for playgrounds, are the best.
- There should be no water lying around, and the surface must be free of debris like stumps, rocks, roots, glass or bottles.
- Equipment should be no higher than about 9 feet.
- Areas for pre-schoolers should be separated from equipment for older children, and signposted.
Supervise your children closely when you take them to a playground; being vigilant is vital to playground safety.
Don’t just sit and watch; get up and walk around, encourage and praise your children’s activities and allow other children to see that you are being vigilant. This alone can curb unruly behavior.
Don’t allow any child to push the limits of the equipment. If other children are out of control and won’t listen to you, remove your children from the playground.
Make playground safety a priority for your children.