Playgrounds are great places for kids to just be kids. However, they can also present hidden dangers if parents aren’t vigilant. In fact, roughly 45 percent of playground-related injuries are due to lack of supervision by adults.
Take a look at some of these helpful tips, provided by Safe Kids, and use them to keep your children safer while playing.
Supervise Kids Using Playground Equipment
- Actively supervise children on playgrounds.
- Check playgrounds for hazards, such as rusted or broken equipment and dangerous surfaces.
- Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous.
- Dress appropriately for the playground. Remove necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard.
- Little kids can play differently than big kids. It is important to have a separate play area for children under 5.
Choose the Right Play Area Based on Your Child’s Age
- Ensure that children use age-appropriate playground equipment. Separate play areas for children under 5 should be available and maintained.
- For babies who are learning to walk, the play area should have a smooth and easy surface to walk on.
- If your baby has fairly good head control and can sit up with support (usually around 9 months old), give the baby (bucket-shaped) swings a try.
Ensure Safe Surfacing Beneath and Surrounding Playground Equipment
- Avoid playgrounds with non-impact absorbing surfaces, such as asphalt, concrete, grass, dirt or gravel.
- Recommended surface materials include: sand, pea gravel, wood chips, mulch and shredded rubber. Rubber mats, synthetic turf and other artificial materials are also safe surfaces and require less maintenance.
- Surfacing should be at least 12 inches deep and extend at least 6 feet in all directions around stationary equipment.
- For swings, make sure that the surfacing extends, in the back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
Check That Playgrounds Are Inspected and Maintained by Qualified Personnel
- Double check with your school and child care center to make sure they have age-appropriate, well-maintained playground equipment.
- If there are any hazards in a public or backyard playground, report them immediately and do not allow children to use the equipment until it is safe.
- Report any playground safety hazards to the organization responsible for the site (e.g., school, park authority or city council).
Practice COVID-19 Safety Protocols
- Make sure children practice social distancing and remain spread apart, preferably not making any physical contact with each other.
- Wear masks, even when playing outside.
- After play time is over, wash hands.
About Safe Kids Wake County
Safe Kids Wake County aims to reduce the number of preventable injuries and death in Wake County, NC children ages 19 and under.
Safe Kids Wake County is comprised of organizations, businesses and individuals throughout Wake County who share an interest in child safety. Interested in getting involved? Regular meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of the month from noon to 1 pm at the Andrews Conference Center on the WakeMed Raleigh Campus. Call 919-350-8364 for additional information or visit our webpage here.