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Tips For Keeping Children Safe On The Playground | Deltona Child Injury Lawyer

Tips For Keeping Children Safe On The Playground

Each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 45 percent of playground-related injuries are severe – fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations. And about 75 percent of such injuries occur on public playgrounds, mostly those at schools and daycare centers.

While the use of playground equipment encourages children to test and expand their physical abilities, these statistics help show the need for parents to take certain precautions when selecting playground equipment and safe sites for children.

The risks can be minimized when equipment is well designed and children are taught basic playground manners. Here are some guidelines for parents:

  • Children under five should play on equipment separate from older children.
  • Make sure there is sand, wood chips, or rubberized matting under swings, seesaws, and jungle gyms, and that these surfaces are of proper depth and well-maintained. On concrete or asphalt, a fall directly on the head can be serious — even from a height of just a few inches.
  • Wooden structures should be made from all-weather wood, which is less likely to splinter. Examine the surfaces periodically to be sure they are smooth. Metal structures, for example, can get extremely hot in warmer months.
  • Conduct a periodic inspection of equipment, looking especially for loose joints, open chains that could come loose, and rusted cotter pins. Be sure there are no open S hooks or protruding pieces that could hook a child’s clothing. On metal equipment, check for rusted or exposed bolts as well as sharp edges and points. At home, cover them with protective rubber. In a public playground, report the hazard to the appropriate authorities.
  • Be sure swings are made of soft and flexible material. Insist that your child sit in the middle of the seat, holding on with both hands. Don’t allow two children to share the same swing. Teach your child never to walk in front of or behind a swing while another child is on it. Swings are responsible for most injuries that occur on home playgrounds. Avoid equipment in which the swings hang from overhead climbing bars.
  • Be sure children on slides use the ladder instead of climbing up the sliding surface. Don’t permit pushing and shoving on the ladder, and have children go up one at a time. Teach your child to leave the bottom of the slide as soon as he reaches it. If a slide has been sitting in the sun for a long time, check the sliding surface to see if it’s too hot before letting him use it.
  • Don’t allow children under four to use climbing equipment that is taller than they are without close supervision. According to the CDC, more injuries occur on climbers than on any other equipment at public playgrounds.
  • Between the ages of three and five, your child should use a seesaw only with other children of comparable age and weight. Children under three don’t have the arm and leg coordination to use the equipment.

For more on child safety issues, see the library of articles by Daytona Beach child injury lawyer.

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