Avoiding Injury on the Playground – What Parents need to know

What child doesn’t love going to the playground? It isn’t just the slides, swings, and sand pits that can provide hours of fun. The playground gives children opportunities to socialize with their peers, exercise, and simply enjoy their carefree age. However, as cheerful as children are at the playground, there is always a risk of injury when they are at play.

Each year, more than 28,000 children are injured on Canadian playgrounds. To help ensure that your child remains safe, the Canadian Safety Council advises that parents take note of the “5 S’s of playground safety”:

Structure

 Playground structures are evolving to be made out of higher quality materials. Many older ones, however, are less advanced. Before you allow your child to run free on a play structure, ensure that:

  • All staircases or steps have good traction.
  • Swing set seats are made of soft material with spacing of at least two feet apart.
  • Swing sets are situated a good distance away from the main playground.
  • The slides are not metal, as hot metal in the sun has the potential to burn skin.

Surface

If a child falls from a play structure, what the ground surface is made of can be a deciding factor on whether a child gets injured. Surfaces should be shock absorbing, and ones made out of wood chips, shredded rubber, and sand can minimize the risk of falling-related injuries. Asphalt, dirt, concrete, and grass, however, are unsafe. Furthermore, surfaces should be 12 inches deep, and surround the entire playground radius.

Supervision

As a parent, you know that supervision is a critical part of keeping your child safe. Since children are not always aware, or ignore completely the risks of climbing unsafely on playgrounds, it is the parent’s job to ensure that their child is playing safely.

Site

Unfortunately, playgrounds are a common place for teenagers to go at nightfall. Once you arrive, be sure to scan the site and look for any broken glass, or nails and bolts from the equipment laying around.

Safety

Before allowing your child to participate in playground games with his or her friends, take the time to go over any playground rules posted at the park. By ensuring that your child understands the risks associated with playing on the structure before they take off, you can dramatically reduce their desires to engage in risky behaviours. Furthermore, most playgrounds have separate areas for different age groups, and parents of toddlers should make sure their child stays away from the larger structures designed for older children.

While parents can certainly do their part to keep their children safe at the playground, sometimes a child’s injury is simply due to lack of maintenance. There is only so much injury prevention a parent can practice, so cities must do their part to properly maintain their playgrounds.

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gray_adminAvoiding Injury on the Playground – What Parents need to know