Each year, emergency rooms in the U.S. treat more than 200,000 children for playground-related injuries. While some involve bumps and bruises, many are much more serious, resulting in severe fractures, amputations and even death. Although girls are slightly more prone to injuries on playgrounds, the gender at risk is nearly ½ and ½. Playgrounds at low-income locations are more likely to have maintenance-related injuries, but all children who play on both public and private grounds are at risk. MomTrusted has put together a few playground safety tips to help keep your child out of these statistics.
Be present and aware. The best way to practice playground safety is to simply keep an eye on your child. It’s OK to bring a book or magazine, but don’t get so engrossed that you lose watch. If you see your child climbing, hanging or crawling where they shouldn’t, be sure to show them the proper way to use the equipment.
Let your child go down slides on his or her own. Many parents try to protect their toddlers by having them sit on their lab as they go down a slide, but this is a mistake. Hospitals see an alarming number of slide-related injuries due to children sliding down on a parent’s lap. The added height, weight and speed leave room for shoelaces and feet to get caught and dislocated or pulled in unnatural ways. The best solution? Just let your little one slide alone.
Supervised swinging only. Most injuries on back-yard playground sets occur on swings. If you have a toddler, make sure they use a swing with a back for extra support and protection. Watch out for swings’ metal chains, which can pinch little fingers and misuse of them, like standing or jumping off.
Check out the condition of the equipment. Another way to practice playground safety is to keep an eye the equipment as well. Wet, rained-on slides, swings and monkey bars can get super slippery. Sometimes the grounds heat up too much under the summer sun, making them dangerously hot. Keep on the lookout for any broken equipment. Always investigate the condition of a playground before your child plays.
Sources: -“Playground Injuries: Fact Sheet.” CDC -“A Surprising Risk for Toddlers on Playground Slides.” The New York Times -“Playground Safety.” Kids Health