Seriously, what’s better than a playground? If you have kids, the playground is the one place they are guaranteed to want to go regardless of their mood. You may have just declared that there won’t be ice cream for dessert tonight, but all will be right in the world if some playground time can be thrown into the mix. And for you mothers out there, a playground can actually become a place to grab a bit of ‘you time’. The kids will entertain themselves for hours while you read a book, catch up on phone calls or just chat with some of the other parents there and enjoy a beautiful day. It’s all good, until someone takes a fall and things turn disastrous. A playground can be a safe haven for good clean fun, or the site of injuries that send you rushing to the hospital. So here are five of the top playground safety tips for kids.
The most important thing you’ll need to safeguard against is falling children. Most of the injuries seen on a playground happen after falls. Because of this, the majority of modern playgrounds you’ll find are built with ground materials designed to cushion a fall. Make sure wherever you go is planned out the same way. The best playgrounds will be blanketed with sand, mulch or rubber tiles. By simply avoiding playgrounds covered in rocks or cement you’ll greatly reduce any safety concerns.
Although you will want to have a little down time now and again, reconsider taking your attention away from the kids while at the playground. You don’t even have to be hands-on. Just watch from a bench as they jump, climb and swing their way across the playground. You’ll be able to track their behavior and make sure they are using the equipment appropriately. And you can keep the younger kids from experimenting with a piece of equipment they are too young to safely use.
Before you even get to the playground, consider how the kids are dressed. Children are often fearless, and aren’t ready to truly understand the consequences of their actions. They can learn of course, but they won’t think about things such as how their clothing could pose a danger. So if you’re headed to the playground you can’t leave the children to choose their wardrobe for the day. Scarves, long necklaces or drawstrings on pants or jackets can all get caught on playground equipment. Look for any loose ends that could lead to injuries and the kids should be good to go.
Although you might feel like one of ‘those’ moms when you do it, don’t be afraid to keep tabs on the inspection and maintenance schedule of the playground. Things are only truly dangerous when the equipment is allowed to become damaged due to age and weather, and then sit in disrepair. Wherever the playground is, check in with the organization that maintains it. And if you see something damaged that needs to get handled, definitely bring it up to them. Even if it’s your child’s school, the administration will be more than thankful that you’re helping them avoid a potential lawsuit.
Finally, make sure your kids understand appropriate playground behavior. You might have the chance to enjoy one of the best outdoor playground sets in Connecticut, but a state-of-the-art setup won’t prevent injuries if some demon child gets it in his head to start throwing rocks. Teach your children that shoving or pushing other kids is never okay. Remind them to wait their turn for the slide, and not to walk behind a swing set that’s being used. Kids play differently at different ages, and as long as the kids are respectful and don’t start trouble, they should be able to play perfectly well with the other boys and girls at the park.