Whether during recess or after school, kids everywhere are all over playgrounds, ready to swing and slide to their heart's content. Unfortunately, playground time can also mean injury time. More than 67% of injuries occur from faulty playground equipment or a fall. Each year 200,000 children are treated in the ER for playground injuries in the U.S. That equals 547 injuries per day, and one child every three minutes. And more than 75% of public playgrounds and 91% of home playgrounds lack a proper protective surface and 45% result in a severe injury such as a fracture or concussion. These statistics are staggering, but it’s important to share the message so that people can make the appropriate changes that are essential to keeping children safe.
Here are some leading safety tips for playground safety that includes what to inspect on the playground, the correct length of the soft surface under the swings, basic ideas for safety and more. The following tips will help you plan the perfect playground for plenty of fun filled days with your little one.
Top Tips for Playground Safety
- Maintain a visual line of sight with children.
- The opening in playground equipment should be less than 3.5 inches or larger than 9 inches so a head cannot get caught.
- Check metal slides to make sure they’re not too hot to the touch.
- Make sure kids wear shoes or sneakers in the playground to protect their feet.
- The length of soft surface under swings should be double the height of the swing set.
- Choose equipment that’s right for your kid’s size and age— toddlers cannot use metal swings seesaws or slides yet.
- Place rubber mulch, mats or soft surface under the playground to cushion falls—it’s best to avoid playgrounds with a concrete surface.
- Inspect the playground and sandbox for splintered wood, broken glass, sharp metals, uncovered chains or loose bolts, wet spots or missing ladder rungs.
- Remove necklaces, scarves, and handbags, clothes with drawstrings or clothing that may get caught.
- Apply sunscreen on the kids before letting them play in the sun.
- Fence the playground in so kids can’t run into traffic.
Playgrounds have been making kids happy for many, many years. While accidents can happen, following some of this sage advice, will help reduce injuries and ensure that kids can play safely and have fun at their neighborhood or school playground.