Spring is here and kids are ready to hit the playgrounds again. We all have fond memories of playing with our friends at recess or going to the park with our families. Playgrounds are a great place to experience the great outdoors, develop our physical fitness skills and socialize.

Spring is here and kids are ready to hit the playgrounds again. We all have fond memories of playing with our friends at recess or going to the park with our families. Playgrounds are a great place to experience the great outdoors, develop our physical fitness skills and socialize.

National Playground Safety Week is April 23-27, 2018, a time when we focus on outside play environments. As parents, teachers and as providers of play equipment and play spaces, we want to ensure safe and well maintained playgrounds for our children.

Here are a few tips for using and maintaining a safe playground for our children.

Inspect Your Playground

Playground safety requires all of our efforts. Playgrounds do not maintain themselves. They require regular inspection and necessary maintenance and repairs.

  • As a parent, walk around playground to view the general condition of the playground. If you see something is broken or could cause a potential accident, report it to the parks department or school and do not let your child play on it.
  • Schools, Municipalities, Park Districts, Homeowners Associates and other neighborhood parks should perform regular inspections on play area or seek services from a third party of whom is a certified playground inspector.
  • Check the surfaces under the play structures. Most injuries on the playground are due to falls to the surface. They should provide adequate cushion (impact attenuation) if your child were to jump or fall.
  • Check playground equipment for hazards such as loose bolts, wood splinters or sharp edges. Make sure swing seats are not cracked and that chains and ropes are in good condition.
  • Fall zones for any play structure should be six feet in all directions. This makes it less likely for your child to fall on an unprotected surface.
  • Inspect playground equipment for head entrapments. There should be no openings in equipment between 3.5 and 9 inches.
  • Identify old, unsafe equipment.

Practice Safety While Playing at the Playground

Dress for Safety

  • Dress appropriately for playing outdoors with current weather conditions.
  • Make sure your child wears the proper shoes to play on the playground. Yes shoes are required. Do not let your child play on the playground barefoot. Make sure they wear tennis shoes – well tied and without long laces. Do not let them wear boots, sandals or flip flops which make their footing less secure.
  • Avoid wearing a jacket or hoodie with drawstrings as these could cause strangulation or other injuries.
  • If you are bicycling to the playground have the child remove his or her helmet before playing on the playground.

Play Nice

  • Everyone will be safer if they play well together.
  • Teach your children to share, take turns on equipment and get along with others.
  • Pushing and shoving on the playground will NOT be tolerated, and can be very dangerous.

Use Equipment Appropriately

  • Everyone will be safer if we use play equipment as intended.
  • Do not climb up slides. They are intended to be used to slide down, not crawl up.
  • Do not stand or climb on outside of tube slides or tunnels.
  • Do not stand on railings or try to climb posts to roofs.

Supervision is Necessary

  • Children must be supervised by an adult.
  • Give them a few simple rules and make sure everyone follows them.
  • Make sure children are playing safely and nicely.
  • Keep younger children away from play structures or equipment they are not ready for.
  • Do not allow excessive numbers of children to occupy one piece of equipment.

We want our children to play and be active, but we want them to be safe. No wants to end the day at the playground with a trip to the emergency room, but unfortunately accidents do happen and all kids fall from time to time. Playground injuries can be decreased or avoided if we all take the time to make ourselves aware of the potential hazards. If we are all active in identifying and addressing unsafe playgrounds or play equipment our children will be that much safer.

Please feel free to contact Playground Guardian if you have any questions on playground safety or inspections at 877-984-0418.

Photography – Charlotte Photographer – PatrickSchneiderPhoto.com