Parents, Playgrounds And Precautions

May 21st, 2013 posted by Chris Mayhew

Playgrounds: Keeping your kids safe and having fun by Chris mayhew at FamilyCorner.com

As the sun finally seems to be making a regular appearance, children everywhere will be looking forward to summer break. Parents will inevitably be thinking of ways to keep them entertained for the next couple of months. Playing outside is a great way for children to remain active and have fun, and the playgrounds that populate parks all over the country are the perfect locations for this to happen.

However, no two playgrounds are the same and in the interest of child safety it is important that parents take care to ensure that their child’s chosen play spot is up to scratch and isn’t likely to send them home with added bandages. It’s a startling statistic that 70% of all injuries to children aged fourteen or younger in the USA are a result of playground accidents, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. As parents, here are a few steps you can take to ensure your children are playing in a safe environment.

Always Be Close By

Just because your children are occupied and happily playing, doesn’t mean you can afford to take your eyes off them for any extended period of time. Always try to stay in the vicinity; whether you sit on a nearby bench or on the swing next to the one they are swinging on. With older children, if you can’t be with them when they want to go off to the park, make sure it is a park that you know well and that’s in close proximity to your home. Also, be sure that they are not going off to play alone and ideally arrange for another adult to supervise them and their friends.

Safety Surfacing

There are a number of safety features that will give you a good idea of whether or not the park is safe to use. Look for the presence of safety surfacing. Did you know that 80% of all playground accidents occur because of a fall to the surface (according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents)? The floor should ideally be made of a material that will help to cushion a person’s impact should they fall. Some surfaces include mulch, bark or, better yet, specially designed rubber safety tiles for children. These materials have been developed to drastically reduce the chance of major accidents and will allow you to relax, knowing that should your children fall they will be protected.

Be cautious of playgrounds that are built mostly on concrete; especially if there are any potential high drops, such as from set of monkey bars or from a tall slide. Concrete may be a durable and long lasting surface but it can be very unforgiving on elbows and knees. Consider looking for a more suitable place to play if this is the case.

Recently, studies have shown that certain types of wood used in the construction of play parks can present health risks. Dark grey/green wood, referred to as ‘pressure treated’, has been highlighted as a possible safety risk. Other concerns include a wood preserving pesticide called CCA, or chromated copper arsenate, which has frequently been used on equipment in playgrounds. The concern is that the chemical (containing the carcinogen arsenic) can seep out of the wood and onto children’s hands and into their mouths.

Moral obligations now mean that many of these parks have been removed and CCA and pressure treated wood are no longer used on a wide scale. However, if you have concerns then you shouldn’t let your children play in these areas.

Equipment Check 

It’s sad when you see a park that hasn’t been maintained properly. It stands alone as a remnant of previously happy times when children would joyfully grace its swings and slides; a moment in time that has sadly been forgotten due to neglect. However, there are some parks that may look safe, but upon closer inspection you find that some of the equipment is broken and has become dangerous. It is best to give everything a quick once over before allowing your children play.

Playgrounds: Keeping your kids safe and having fun by Chris mayhew at FamilyCorner.com

Get Involved 

Without a doubt, one of the best ways to ensure that your children enjoy themselves whilst remaining safe is to get involved in play time. Monkey around on the monkey bars, swing into action on the swings and scale new heights on the climbing frame; they’ll love you all the more for it. Not only will you be able to form stronger bonds with them, but they can learn about safety through your example.

Playgrounds are an important part of childhood. One that shouldn’t be hampered by an unsafe environment. By taking just a few precautionary steps, you can ensure that your child will have playground memories just like you do!

Chris Mayhew (2 Posts)

Chris Mayhew spends a lot of time with his niece and nephew who often provide him with great ideas for interesting articles. As anyone with children will know; child safety is of the upmost importance and it’s crucial to find a balance between letting them explore the world and keeping them safe at all times. Find Chris on Google+.


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Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

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