Posted by PlaySmart on March 21, 2013
There’s no argument as to how beneficial playgrounds can be in terms of a child’s physical, mental and social skill development. Psychologists and paediatricians alike have praised the potential for strength and aerobic exercise, sensory development and other life skills that playgrounds encompass. However, although playgrounds are fun environments for kids to develop in; jungle gyms, slides and swings all pose a safety risk and an increasing number of children are injured in play areas. According to statistics provided by an injury lawyer, this number has reached over one million and 45% of these injuries were serious fractures. While most playground-related injuries are not life-threatening, they can also be easily avoided if parents check playground safety.
First step to check playground safety is that parents should ensure that all play area activity is supervised by an adult. Whether it is at home, at school or a public play area, kids of all ages will want to test the boundaries of their own strength as well as what they can get away with in terms of discipline. For this reason, a responsible adult needs to be alert and present to keep a check on any potential risks or dangers children may get themselves in. With this in mind, it is worth investigating whether there is an age limit to any equipment and to limit children as such. For example, very small kids should not be left unattended on the swings or jungle gym. It is also a good idea to ensure that the children are using the equipment correctly, as misuse can lead to injuryand accidents
Once proper supervision has been established, it is a good idea for parents to inspect the playground themselves before letting their kids on the various apparatus. In theory, all public and school playgrounds should be checked regularly, however, it is better to be safe than sorry. In terms of the jungle gym, things to particularly look out for include whether ladders, platforms and steps are in good condition and whether the platforms have appropriate rails to keep kids from falling. Slides should also be checked and slide equipment that is rickety, not particularly well anchored and with gaps between the platform and slide should be avoided. This also applies to see-saws, which should always be secure, well cushioned and the pivot points should be covered to prevent pinching. Another crucial element to a safe playground is the floor cushioning. Safety surfacing should surround all equipment, as the materials used can prevent serious injury in the event of a fall. The grass mats option will also help to keep the structural integrity of the surface.
If any of these faults or any others are present in a playground, it is a good idea to prevent children from playing in this area. Nobody wants to see an injured child and simple steps of supervision and inspection can prevent this from happening.