Fall is here and back to school means children are inevitably more likely to be spending additional time outside on the playground at recess and after school. Regardless of whether a playground is located in your neighborhood park, backyard or school however, there are some safety measures to keep in mind to avoid certain risks.
When imaginations are running wild and children are excited to be playing with their new classmates, things can take a turn when you least expect it. Chasing one another, or racing each other up that ladder can of course be fun but it can also lead to injuries. According to Global News, children continue to be injured on playgrounds, sometimes requiring hospital care. Did you know that over 2,000 Canadians were hospitalized following a playground injury last year? Most of these were children. An alarming figure indeed, which is why we want to ensure you know exactly what injuries are common on the playground and ways in which you can prevent them from occurring in the first place.
What you need to know about playground injuries:
- Falls: It may go without saying that falls are common and can lead to the worst consequences. Whether a child slips off a ladder, misses the monkey bars and tumbles or takes the plunge and jumps off a platform, falls can be serious and are the most common playground related injury. As stated by the American Academy of Orthopedic, 79 percent of equipment-related injuries are due to a fall. Always monitor children while they are playing to check that they are behaving safely and with caution. We highly encourage you to also choose a playground that has a protective surface on the playground’s floor to offer cushion in the event of a fall. Rubber or padded floors can offer this additional safety to your children should they unexpectedly fall.
- Fractures: Taking your child on a ride down a slide seems innocent enough, but, if your child’s leg accidentally gets stuck while your body keeps moving downward, it could inadvertently cause a fracture. Always be careful about letting your kids use slides or ride with you down them.
- Bullying: When kids play together, there’s always the potential for meanness directed at one or more kids. To prevent any kids from being victimized, make sure there are no parts of the play area that are secluded or out of sight of adults who are nearby. Pay close attention to the ways that children are interacting and step in if anything seems inappropriate.
- Burns: While this isn’t so applicable these days with the cooler temperatures here, if it’s a hot sunny day, playground equipment can heat up extremely fast and only gets hotter as the day goes on. Sadly it can sometimes heat up enough to burn a child’s skin as a result. If it is a hot day out there, test how the equipment feels yourself before you let your child roam the playground. It’s also a good idea to check that they are dressed in appropriate clothing; long pants and shoes are ideal so that more skin is covered and there is less risk it’ll be exposed to the equipment.
- Choking: While this incident is rarer, choking can take place on and off the playground. Cords can be found on some playgrounds and could wrap around a child’s neck and strangle him or her if you are not 100% cautious of your child’s surroundings and their outerwear or clothing. If your child asks to play outside, always check that their clothing is free from hazardous strings or ties before they go out the door.
Parents can successfully protect children from playground dangers by remembering the above points and preventative measures. When in doubt about a particular playground, do your own safety inspection prior to letting your child play freely. This will give you the peace of mind and reassurance that the playground area is up to safety standards and everything is working as it should. SPI Plastics is an industry leader in indoor and outdoor playgrounds; we manufacture and design rotational molded playgrounds that are built to last. If you have any questions regarding your playground and its safety, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team.