As concerned parents, we have a lot to worry about when it comes to our kids. Their well-being and safety is always a top priority for us. That extends to the playground. Back-to-school is here for many of our children; therefore, I wanted to share some of my back-to-school prep tips for preventing playground injuries.
My passion for this topic can’t be missed by anyone who meets me. At the heart of my devotion to playground safety is my daughter Elli. While at school, she broke her humerous, the large bone in the upper arm, from a playground fall. This wasn’t just any fall. My daughter, who was not being properly supervised, fell 7 feet from a play structure walkway. Unfortunately, one of the children that witnessed the fall was my son. He screamed out her name as she fell. This was the only thing that alerted any of the adults to her preventable accident. But, it was that break that inspired the creation of CastCoverz! That was her 6th broken bone; I had to make something good come out of it.
It was that particular incident – on what I thought was a safe apparatus in a supervised environment – that caused me to pause and truly think about playground safety.
Know the Stats
While it’s not something we want to think about, understanding how serious playground injuries can be is important. In fact, playground injuries are the leading cause of Emergency Room visits for school-aged children, ages 5-14. More than one-third of these injuries are considered severe, including concussions and fractures.
The good news is…most playground injuries are avoidable!
Playground Safety Tips
To ensure safety on the playground, here are some tips to follow:
- Responsible Supervision – Close supervision by a responsible adult may be the most important factor in preventing injury. Adults should keep a watchful eye on children while they are at play to help prevent accidents or even playground scuffles that can lead to an accident.
- Age-Appropriate Areas – When visiting a playground, look around to make sure it has a separate, age-appropriate area for children 5 and under. This will prevent little ones from getting injuries from accidents or collisions with older children.
- Avoid Hazards – Being aware includes looking for hazards, such as broken playground equipment and dangerous surfaces. In addition, make sure the grounds are as free of any debris (i.e. litter, glass) as much as possible. This can help prevent children from tripping and falling to the ground or causing other injuries like cuts.
- Impact Absorbing Surfaces – There are surfaces specifically designed to help absorb impact in case of an accident. These are the best surfaces for children to play on. Look for playgrounds that have rubber mats or shredded rubber, artificial turf, or even mulch. There are a variety of substances, but the point is to avoid having children at play on non-impact absorbing surfaces, such as concrete or gravel.
- Check Clothing – During the fall and winter months, we often dress our children in layers. This could include hoodies, sweatshirts, or other items that have drawstrings around the neck. To help avoid having children getting these strings caught on playground equipment, parents should remove hood and neck drawstrings from outerwear.
- Remove Bike Helmets – Sometimes parents feel it’s best for children to play while wearing bike helmets to protect their heads in case of an accidental fall. This actually could impede your child’s play for numerous reasons and lead to serious injury. Therefore, it is recommended that bike helmets be removed before children use playground equipment.
- Encourage Proper Behavior – One of the best ways to prevent playground injuries is to teach children proper playground behavior, such has no pushing, shoving, or crowding. Teaching children how to play properly and be respectful of others on playground equipment can help prevent many injuries and scuffles that could lead to injury.
Being safe is the farthest thing from a child’s mind. It is the parents’, educators’, and playground supervisors’ job to alert our children about the potential dangers of school playgrounds. It all starts with these few tips. To help ensure that your child’s teacher and care-providers are informed, use this handy tip sheet provided by Safe Kids Worldwide.
For additional tips on the prevention of broken bones and other feel better, heal better topics, spend a little time on our blog.
Feel Better, Heal Better with CastCoverZ!