Playground is truly a good place for the all-round development of children. What it needs is just simple care and careful attention.
Playgrounds are fun places where children can explore, move, and play. But they can be dangerous if children are unsupervised or if the area is not properly designed or maintained. Accidents happen for many reasons, but you can prevent them. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 200,000 children 14 years of age and younger are treated in hospital emergency rooms across the United States. Most accidents, nearly 70 percent, occur on public playgrounds. They are usually associated with climbing equipment, slides and swings. More than one-third of all playground injuries are severe, with children incurring fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations and amputations. Approximately 15 children die each year from those injuries, about half of which are from strangulation and one-quarter from falls from equipment.
Falls are one of the main causes of playground injuries. Kids tend to fall due to slipping, losing their balance, losing the grip, or while playing on swings, monkey bars, seesaws, slides and merry-go-rounds. Majority of fall injuries are due to monkey bars, leading to fractures. Some children get injured due to being struck by the playing equipment. Approximately 75% of nonfatal injuries are associated with playground equipment. Such types of injuries are more common at daycare centers and schools. Children between the age of 5 and 9 are at higher risk of getting inured.
- Poor maintenance
- Incorrect installation
- Failure to provide an adequate cushioned fall surface
- Lack of supervision
- Inherent manufacturing or design defects
- Failure to warn or provide clear instructions for equipment use
About 45% of playground injuries are quite severe, including fractures, injuries to internal organs, dislocations, concussions, and amputations. Fracture is the most common type of playground injury. Some other common injuries include cuts, falls, blows from different equipment such as swing, ball or bat, lacerations, sprains and strains, or abrasions and contusions. Broken bones, trauma and spinal injuries are the serious injuries that need immediate medical care and hospitalization. Head injury is the most serious form of playground injury.
Prevention is always better than cure. It is better to adopt some preventive measures while playing on the ground, rather than treating the injuries. You should always wear the rubber-soled shoes in order to protect your feet. Make sure that the surface beneath the playground is made from shock-absorbent materials such as wood chips, pea gravel, sand, or similar material. Don’t use the metal slides that are exposed to the sun. Such slides may become hot and burn the skin. The landing surface should be smooth and soft, particularly around the monkey bars. You should be very careful about the playground design, playground surface, installation and maintenance of playground equipment. Adult supervision is essential while the kids are playing on the ground. Keep a watchful eye while the younger children are playing. Be sure that children are wearing the clothes that are not too loose to get caught in the playing equipment. Whenever your child comes from the playground, do check for any injuries or wounds, so that to seek immediate treatment.
Other Playground Safety Guidelines
- If a playground has a sandbox, check for sharp sticks or broken glass before playing in it.
- Areas near swing sets, jungle gyms, and slides should have shock-absorbing materials on the ground or pads to protect kids from injuries. Don’t ride your bike or skate there – use other areas with blacktop or concrete for those activities.
- Always watch where you’re going. Be aware of your surroundings as much as possible. Pay attention for objects or balls that may fly in your direction.
- If a piece of playground equipment seems broken or in need of maintenance, report the problem to the owner of the playground (school, township, borough, etc.) and designate it as off-limits in the meantime.