Being a parents, you all need the safety of your children as this was the top priority you have as you got a little one to take care with. That’s why I was too happy to learn that even playground today has this safety features which make you, parents, at ease in every time you leave your children in any near playground your place. To know about this, you should read this entire post as an UK company conducted a research on how this happens.
For parents wanting their children to play outside, understanding playground safety is paramount. 40,000 children injure themselves on playgrounds each and every year – but despite this, there are many reasons kids should play outdoors, from improving physical health to boosting their mental capacity through problem solving and social skills.
To keep your children safe at play facilities, Infinite Playgrounds, providers of adventure playgrounds and natural play areas, have designed a handy checklist.
1. Is the playground wet?
Wet playgrounds can be dangerous, especially when climbing or traversing metallic play objects. Make sure you wipe down equipment such as monkey bars or simply avoid them entirely if there’s no protective surface underneath.
2. What kind of protective surfaces are on offer?
There is currently no legal requirement for protective surfacing on children’s playgrounds, despite recommendations from virtually every playground authority. When you get to the play park, have a look at the surfaces below the equipment.
The safest surfaces are sand, wood chips, shingle and cast tiles. Bonded rubber mulch is also a favourite thanks to its eco-friendly approach. Grass is also relatively safe if it is wet – but dry grass has very little impact absorbency. Concrete, paving and an earth/hogging hard surface all offer poor absorption if your child falls down, so should be approached with caution.
3. Is it well maintained?
Rubbish strewn all over a playground is a bad sign – but broken equipment and graffiti, which are both signs of vandalism, can indicate an unsafe play area. In an area subject to that kind of damage, you should check any equipment before you let your child play on it – looking for signs of damage that could lead to failure or harmful objects like broken glass.
4. Is the playground dog friendly?
When you first get to a playground, especially a grass-covered one, check for any dog poo as over 100 people catch eye diseases from dog faeces each year. There are no laws to force people to stop their dogs from fouling children’s playgrounds. Instead, the duty is on the local authority to clear up any mess.
However, local authorities can pass bylaws to control the access of dog owners to playgrounds. Some play areas have fenced areas for specific dog use – but if they don’t, a parent should be on watch for any dogs off the lead in case of attack. 1,600 children are taken to hospital with dog bites each year, so it pays to be vigilant.
5. Are there any out of park hazards nearby?
A playground is should be easy to access, away from major hazards like main roads and environmental hazards like rivers. It should also be highly visible to prevent vandalism. Firstly, you should check for fencing which should be in place if the park is near hazards. If the play area is near any roads, you’ll need to pay close attention to your child’s activities, regardless of fencing.
6. Are you supervising your child’s play?
Most playground accidents (60 per cent) have little to do with the equipment. The serious ones can often be prevented with vigilance against dog bites and risky play – the other accidents are generally trips and falls that are hard to avoid.
However, the 40 per cent of accidents that do occur on equipment may be prevented if parents pay close attention to play on the more ‘dangerous’ areas, which are:
• Swings – 40 per cent of all equipment accidents happen on swings, although at least 4 per cent of these involve the swing seat hitting a child’s head which isn’t usually serious.
• Climbers – 23 per cent of accidents occur on rock climbing-style play equipment, so pay close attention to children using climbers.
• Slides – 21 per cent of kids who get injured in parks do so on the slide. While it’s tough to stop kids racing down slides, try to prevent unsafe practices such as running back up it.
However, it’s key to note that this doesn’t mean all these pieces of equipment are actually dangerous. Instead, they’re the most popular, so there’s a natural higher chance of injury.
All in all, the real onus on safety is on those who design playgrounds. For a parent or guardian, performing a quick check over of the playground to make sure it doesn’t have any hazards and then staying aware of your child as he or she plays is the best you can do to keep them safe. As long as the play area is properly designed and planned, they should be able to enjoy it without any harm done.