The Centers for Disease Control states that every year, 200,000 children under the age of 14 are injured from playground accidents.
The range of these injuries can be tragic – the CDC reports that at least 45% of playground-related injuries are severe enough to include internal injuries, fractures, dislocations, amputations, and concussions.
Below are five things you can do to prevent playground accidents from occurring.
1. Check the surface on the playground
According to the CDC, falls are the number one cause of non-fatal injuries in children. One recommendation from the group is to have safer surfaces as opposed to grass and dirt under playground equipment.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission strongly advises against putting equipment on asphalt or cement without a safety surface. No Fault Sport Group can provide a variety of safety surfaces that can be installed over asphalt, compacted stone, or concrete to help avoid injuries. No Fault Surfaces include bonded mulch, safety tiles, loose mulch, or traditional poured-in-place surface; all of which are made using a combination of recycled rubber and are a fantastic choice to help keep our children safe.
2. Check the equipment on the playground and keep it well-maintained
Equipment that is not properly maintained can be extremely hazardous. The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) suggests keeping a routine equipment maintenance checklist based on CPSC guidelines and the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Key items such as checking to make sure there are no openings from 3.5”-9” where a child’s body or head may get stuck are on the list. There cannot be any open areas at the top of the slides where strings could get caught and cause strangulation, and there needs to be a two swing maximum in a support structure.
Other maintenance is also mandatory such as checking to make sure that the equipment is not rusted, and that there are no damaged or missing pieces. For instance, if bolts meant to keep the equipment grounded get lost, the safety of every child that plays on it becomes jeopardized.
NPPS has also posted a notable video on playground safety and maintenance.
3. Check the temperature
As the weather warms up, playground equipment can become sweltering, and in some cases, cause burns. Slides that are composed of metal (highly frowned upon by the CPSC) still exist in many older playgrounds. If the slide is not protected from the sun by a shade structure, the metal areas of the slide can become insanely hot and may even burn the skin.
Caregivers and parents should always check for hot surfaces on playground equipment before allowing children to play on it. Furthermore, the playground surfaces that are not covered by shade can also become very hot. Some surfaces such as pea gravel and sand can actually retain and absorb the heat, making them 5 to 10 degrees hotter in the summertime.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, exposed asphalt and concrete around the playground area can become very hot too. This can be avoided by administering No Fault Safety Tiles or No Fault Safety Surface poured-in-place. The CPSC also stresses that burns do not only occur in extremely hot weather – there have been noted cases of burns that occurred in 74-degree weather!
4. Beware of strangulation and choking hazards
Playground equipment with nets may appear safer due to the fact that they provide children with a softer place to land – however, cargo nets can be harmful if the openings are too big. Again from the CPSC: Nets with a perimeter opening between 17 and 28 inches could pose danger for kids. These nets are mostly found on indoor playground environments. The openings should be too small for a child’s body to fit through, but large enough for their head to fit.
Wearing bike helmets on the playground might also pose a strangulation hazard. In 1999, the CPSC announced a warning against wearing bike helmets on playgrounds after a 3-year-old boy in Pennsylvania died as a result of strangulation when his bike helmet became wedged as he tried to pass through a small opening in the playground equipment. Instead, providing softer surfaces like those from No Fault Sport Group can help to inhibit head injuries from falls without the potential strangulation hazards helmets and nets can pose.
5. Make water playgrounds slip-free
There’s nothing more enjoyable than a playground surrounded by water – especially on those scorching summer days. Regardless, making the surface as slip-free as possible can make it even more desirable. No Fault Safety Surface presents a slip-resistant surface for splash pad surfaces, pool decks, and water play surfaces.
If your child is injured, it’s good to know some basic first aid. Go out and play safe this summer!
Check out how to stay safe during winter play activities.
We want to know, has your child had a playground injury? Share your comments below.
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