Playground safety is a topic all too often overlooked until it's too late. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger are treated in emergency departments each year for playground-related injuries. About 10 % of those children are treated for traumatic brain injuries. Fifty-six percent of these injuries involve fractures, contusions, and abrasions. Talking to your children about playground safety can go a long way towards keeping your children safe.
UNDERSTANDING PLAYGROUND DANGERS
The top three types of playground equipment used by children who sustained traumatic brain injuries include swings, climbing equipment, and monkey bars.
As the children are back in school, parents are encouraged to speak to their children about playground safety. The National Program for Playground Safety offers some safety tips for parents to discuss with children.
GENERAL PLAYGROUND SAFETY
While general playground safety rules look an awful lot like general safety rules anywhere, it is a good idea to review playground safety with children.
- Do not engage in roughhousing while using playground equipment like slides, monkey bars, or climbing equipment.
- Make certain there are no other children in the way before jumping off a swing, sliding down the slide, or dropping off the monkey bars.
- Keep bikes and backpacks away from under playground equipment.
STAY SAFE ON THE SWINGS
Children should exercise care both when on the swing and when walking near the swings. Safety tips include the following.
- Do not stand on a swing. Swings are for sitting on.
- Use both hands to hang on while swinging.
- Only one person should be on each swing.
- Allow the swing to slow before getting off a swing.
STAY SAFE ON CLIMBING EQUIPMENT
Climbing equipment, while stationary, presents its own challenges. If a parent is able, it is a good idea to visit the playground to visually assess the climbing equipment a child may encounter. This will allow for more meaningful and on point discussions about staying safe while using climbing equipment.
- Use both hands when climbing.
- Only climb on dry climbing equipment. Wet surfaces are often slippery.
- Pay attention while climbing.
- When climbing up, pay attention to other children who may be climbing down.
- When climbing down, watch for children climbing up.
STAY SAFE ON MONKEY BARS
The monkey bars are the leading source of playground injury. In particular, children between the ages of five and seven do not have sufficient upper body strength to safely use the monkey bars. Further precautions include the following.
- Do not use monkey bars when wet.
- One person on the monkey bars at a time. Do not crowd other children on the monkey bars.
- Do not climb on top of the monkey bars.
- Do not stand on or hang upside down from the monkey bars.
IF YOUR CHILD IS INJURED
At Frost & Kavanaugh, we want your family to be safe. However, sometimes children are injured on the playground. This may be due to poor design, poor maintenance, age-inappropriate equipment, or a failure of the school to properly supervise the children. When a child is injured, we can help. Call Frost & Kavanaugh to talk about your child's injuries. We look forward to speaking with you.