child safety

Child Playground Safety Rules and Tips

Although child playground safety rules are sometimes posted, we often don't read and obey the simple rules that are needed to keep our children safe.

Playgrounds are one of the most common places for children and families to play and have fun together. They are also the cause of over 200,000 children's visits to emergency rooms each year.

Whether a public park, church or school, or even your own backyard, playgrounds are a kid favorite and promote healthy physical activity. However, if not properly maintained or used inappropriately, they can also be hazardous.

The number one way to keep your child safe on a playground is through adult supervision. Survey the equipment to identify any safety hazards and watch your child closely to make sure they use the equipment as intended.

Of course, even with supervision, accidents will happen. It's important that an adult is nearby when accidents do occur, who can immediately administer first aid and call for help if necessary.

To prevent injury, or minimize it when the inevitable accident does occur, use these simple child playground safety tips:

  • Quickly examine the equipment. Edges should be rounded or capped. Metal should be free of rust. Wood should be splinter free. Check for dangerous or protruding hardware like open "S" hooks, bolts or screws. If you discover any sharp or pointy corners, keep your child away to avoid cuts or puncture injuries.
  • In warm weather, test the temperature of metal equipment. When metal equipment gets too hot it can burn skin.
  • Check windows, holes or openings between slats. They should be either wide enough to prevent a child's head from becoming stuck or too small to fit his foot through. Spacing should be either less than 3 ½ inches wide or more than 9 inches wide.
  • Elevated surfaces should have secure guard rails.
  • Beware of cargo nets which can be a strangulation hazard.
  • Do not allow your child to climb or play on equipment that is not securely anchored to the ground.
  • Check the ground surface - hard surfaces such as concrete, asphalt and sometimes even hard packed earth are unsafe and cause dangerous landings in a fall. The ground should also be free of standing water or debris that is a tripping hazard.
  • Equipment with moving parts, like swings or seesaws, should be adequately spaced from other types of equipment.
In addition to examining the physical equipment, you should also teach your children how to be safe on the playground. Some general rules for playground child safety include:
  • Use equipment in the manner for which it is intended
  • Never push or roughhouse on equipment like slides, jungle gyms, swings or elevated platforms.
  • When jumping from equipment, make sure there is no one below you and only jump from safe heights.
  • Do not wear loose clothing, clothing with drawstrings, necklaces, backpacks or other apparel that can get caught on equipment and cause strangulation.
  • Do not play on equipment that is wet or too hot.

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