The National Safety Council sets aside every April 13-15 to celebrate National Playground Safety Week. This is an important reminder to parents and children alike that as much as these are spaces for fun and enjoyment, playgrounds must be used properly. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said over 200,000 kids are treated each year due to playground-related injuries. To keep your child confidently climbing on the monkey bars or safely sailing on the swings, consider these four safety tips:
"Some 200,000 children are injured on playgrounds each year."
1. Choose age-appropriate playgrounds
Not all children are intended to use playgrounds. As Safe Kids pointed out, many cities and schools design playgrounds with specific age brackets in mind. There are usually separate play areas for children 5 and under, and the available activities generally involve less climbing. You also need to keep in mind your own kids' capabilities. For instance, if they're still learning to walk, you want a playground with nice, smooth surfaces. Most children shouldn't even set foot on a playground until at least the nine-month mark.
2. Run down the equipment
Before your child takes his or first trip down the slide, the National Association for the Education of Young Children suggested that parents perform a thorough survey of the playground equipment before their children take that first trip down the slide. Is there any trash or other hazards in and around the equipment? Did you find any rust or other structural issues that might lead to injury? What kind of material, like sand and mulch or shock-absorbent rubber, is under the equipment? Does the playground have ample shading? These are all important things to consider before letting your child play.
3. Teach your kids safety
Often, your kids' safety boils down to how well you instill core safety values . As administrators from Anthony Paddon Elementary School pointed out, there are several guidelines you can teach your children to keep them safe. For one, they should know to never use a playground without adult supervision. Every child should keep his or her hands and feet to himself or herself, which is not only kind but prevents injuries as well. When using any equipment, a child needs to maintain a grip on the handrail and land with two feet on the ground when leaping from the swing, slides, monkey bars, etc.
4. Dress your kids for success
There's a tendency to just let children run to the playground and let them run around aimlessly. But as Let's Play explained, playground safety extends to the clothing your children wear. If you know your children will be on the playground for an extended period, opt for nonrestrictive, free-flowing clothing. Footwear is equally important, and tennis shoes with a good solid grip are generally best. Most children also shouldn't wear necklaces or anything else that can get stuck to equipment. Finally, be sure your child wears enough sunscreen while playing on those warm spring days.
Sometimes, playground accidents are unavoidable. When something does happen, rest assured that you can take your kids to your local CareWell Urgent Care center. With dozens of facilities across the Eastern Seaboard, CareWell's team of physicians can treat the assorted bumps, bruises, cuts and broken bones that your children might experience.