Keep Your Kids Safe on the Playground
By Paul Rothbart
One of the great joys of childhood is a day at a playground. Growing up in Brooklyn, I spent many happy hours on the swings, slides, and monkey bars of the playgrounds in my neighborhood. Kids have fun and get exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. There are hazards at the playground and more than 200,000 children visit an ER annually because of injuries incurred on a playground. When it comes to children, safety is always important. Here are some tips for keeping kids safe on the playground.
It may be tempting to take your kids to the playground and then settle in on a bench with your smartphone. This is not a good idea. Adult supervision is a key to preventing injury. Keep an eye on children, especially the younger ones, to make sure they are using equipment properly and safely. Some children are adventurous and may attempt to jump farther than they are capable of. Should a child fall or any kind of accident occur, if you are watching, you can immediately come to that child's aid, providing comfort or first aid. Your ability to rapidly intervene could prevent a serious injury.
Make Sure Equipment Is Safe
Whether you are using a home or a public playground, safe equipment is essential. Rubber mats or wood chips on the ground underneath playground equipment provide a cushioned surface in the case of a fall. This can help prevent an injury. Swings, slides, and seesaws made of a soft material such as wood or plastic are safer than metal. All playground gear should have handles that are easy for small hands to grip to help prevent falling off them.
Teach Kids to Play Safely
Instruction in proper and safe play on equipment can go a long way to prevent injuries. Teach kids that one child per seat is the right way to use a seesaw, slide, or swing. When using monkey bars or climbing gear, children should give each other space and not push or roughhouse. Children who are just watching or waiting their turn should keep a safe distance from the gear and the kids who are using it. Keep the weather in mind. In the middle of summer, playground surfaces can become hot enough to burn little hands and other body parts. Check them before letting kids use them. If it has rained recently, be mindful of wet surfaces that can be slippery and cause a fall. If there's snow on the ground, playgrounds should not be used. This is the time for sledding or building snowmen. Safely, of course.
Playgrounds are fun places for kids to play and get exercise. As with any other child activity, safety is paramount. Make sure your kids are having fun with a minimum risk of injury.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Concord, N.C.