Warm summer weather and children playing outside are two things that naturally go together. Children playing without a few scrapes and bruises — not so much. There are a number of things that can harm your child on the playground, but Sarah Haverstick, our Safe Children Program Manager, has some simple tips to help your children enjoy a safe summer of playground bliss.
- Check the Playground – Playground equipment can become rusted, broken, covered by trash or damaged by debris that can blow into your child’s play area. Inspect each play station, every visit, to check for potential hazards. Avoid playgrounds that do not have protective surfaces underneath like sand, rubber or mulch.
- Supervise Your Children - OK, this one sounds simple, but in today’s technology driven world, it is easy to get get distracted by phones, laptops and mobile devices. Just being outside with your children is not enough. Make sure you are actively watching them so you can warn them if you see any potential safety hazards.
- Use Age-Appropriate Equipment – Would you send a 2-month-old flying down a water slide? Probably not, but you might let a small child play on monkey bars that are meant for older children with longer arms. Pay attention to age guidelines to prevent your child from tumbling to the ground.
- Remove Drawstrings – Your child may have the cutest outfit in the park, but some clothing can actually threaten your child’s safety on a playground. Make sure shoelaces are tied tightly to avoid tripping, and remove drawstrings from the clothing around your child’s head or neck to prevent choking.
- Teach Playground Rules – Sometimes the biggest hazard on a playground can be another child. Although they may not intend to harm each other, children can get caught up in the excitement of playing. This can lead to pushing, shoving and trying to use equipment at the same time, which increases the chance of injury. Tell your children to use equipment one at a time, and encourage them to walk to each play station instead of running.
Playing outdoors is a great way to keep children active and physically fit. Remember to give your children plenty of water to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion. Parents should also take children inside if lighting or thunderstorms are approaching. Read our health tips to learn more about keeping your child safe. We hope these quick reminders help you and your children have a safe, action-packed summer.