“According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year, more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger go to U.S. hospital emergency departments with injuries associated with playground equipment. More than 20,000 of these children are treated for a traumatic brain injury, including concussion.” National Safety Council
It’s National Playground Safety Week, so we’re sharing these playground safety tips from our team at Safe Kids Oklahoma.
Check out playgrounds before the kids start playing. Choose playgrounds with equipment that is age-appropriate for your child, and avoid playgrounds with non-impact absorbing surfaces, such as asphalt, concrete grass, dirt or gravel. Look instead for sand, wood chips, mulch or shredded rubber. Other safe surfaces include rubber matting or artificial turf.
Also check for hazards such as rusted or broken equipment and report them to the school or appropriate local office.
Take a look at the surrounding area, especially in parks where there may be a pond or lake nearby. Remember that the world is 71% water and kids are 100% curious. Always supervise children near water!
Once the play begins, it’s important to actively supervise kids on playgrounds. It won’t be hard – they’ll probably be calling for you to watch them climb, jump and swing. Remember that little kids can play differently from big kids, so a separate play area for children under five is a good idea.
Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous. Remove necklaces, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and post a strangulation hazard. Even bike helmets should be removed when on the playground.
Elizabeth Koldoff, Director of Injury Prevention at Safe Kids Oklahoma says,” Playgrounds are built for fun and healthy outdoor activities. As the weather warms up and families look for more ways to spend time outdoors, it’s important to keep these simple playground safety checks in mind to reduce the risk of injuries and keep kids safe.”