As a child, there are few things more exciting than getting to play on the best playground in your neighborhood. When you and your children get there, it is hard to decide what structure to play on first. Your children could go to the swings, if they are open, go down a slide or swing on the monkey bars. With all these exciting options for them to choice from, they often don't think of which choice is the safest.
We may not think that playground safety is a big issue, but it is. The Center for Disease Control has shown that each year, emergency rooms across the country treat more than 200,000 children for playground-related injuries. The Center for Disease Control has also reported that 75% of the injuries occurred on public playgrounds. These injuries range from severe fractures to dislocations. There have also been several reports of deaths resulting from accidents on playgrounds. Over 50% of these deaths are caused by strangulation and 20% are caused from falls.
Playground safety checklist
It is easy to assume that playgrounds and their surroundings are safe for our kids. As parents, grandparents or babysitters, it is a good idea to always check the playground for safety measures. Some things you could check include:
- Check the surface under the structures for softness as well as temperatures, particularly in the summer
- If the structure is wood, check for smoothness and potential splinters
- Check for loose joints, exposed bolts and screws, sharp edges and rust
- If the playground is close to a ball field, it is a good idea to watch for stray balls
- In the area around the playground, be on the lookout for hidden dangers. These dangers could be broken glass or leftover construction material
The most important thing to do, when going to a playground, is to always supervise your children and be aware of your surroundings. Trips to the emergency room with your children are physically as well as emotionally exhausting. Playgrounds are meant to be fun, not cause injury. Please have fun and be safe.