A big part about being a kid is going to the playground at your local park. Getting outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and being active can do wonders for a child and not to mention enables them to burn off all that extra energy. What’s more, getting kids to play on playgrounds is one of the ways to help combat the childhood obesity epidemic.
I’ve spent countless hours with my two year old son at playgrounds on the weekend and it is not only fun for him, but fun for me as I soak up all his laughter and file all the wonderful memories made together. But one thing I wasn’t really sure of is how to stay safe while on the playground and what things I should look for when we approach a new play area.
This morning, Caroline Smith, NRPA’s playground safety manager and expert, was a guest on the Martha Stewart “Morning Living” radio show on SiriusXM satellite radio. Caroline took listeners through five important tips to keep in mind when going to the playground (audio clip follows).
Feel free to share these five tips with parents in your community.
- Check the surfacing material beneath the equipment to ensure it is acceptable. Improper surfacing material under playground equipment is the leading cause of playground-related injuries.
- Check the temperature of equipment surfaces. Hot surfaces in direct sunlight can reach temperatures high enough to cause serious contact burn injuries in a matter of seconds.
- Be observant of the conditions of the playground. After falls, the next leading cause of injuries on playgrounds is related to breakage, tip-over, design and assembly of equipment.
- Supervision and proper clothing can reduce risk. It is estimated that 40 percent of playground injuries are associated with a lack of supervision.
- Ensure the equipment is age-appropriate. Preschool-aged children (2 to 5) have developmental needs that differ greatly from school-aged children (5 to 12).
Tell us, what are some ways you keep playgrounds safe for the families and children in your community?
Lauren Hoffmann is NRPA's Senior PR and Communications Manager.