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Well, firstly, there is no denying that ‘playing’, and ‘safety’ may sound quite ironic in general. What would playing be without some scars and bruises and a broken arm or leg, right? But jokes apart, if you want your children to not undergo a serious injury on the playground or, Heaven forbid, any sort of permanent damage ― physical or mental, then safety is a must.
What is Playground Safety?
Precaution is better than cure. We may not be able to forever dodge accidents of all kinds, but the best we can do is to avoid letting them happen. Any kinds of accidents and injuries on the playground can turn out to be a risk when you least expect it. So here’s a list of basic rules and tips for you and your kids to ensure safe and enjoyable time on the playground.
Playground Safety Rules
Adult supervision and precaution is very important in protecting children from playground hazards. As true as that is, only that wouldn’t be enough to protect your kids all the time. Kids need to be taught and made to naturally take care of themselves and those around while playing outside. Honestly, this goes a long way in the securing their physical and emotional well-being.
1. General Thumb-rules for yourself
- Inform your parents or guardians before going to a playground. Have an adult or some friends accompany you and avoid going alone without informing anyone.
- Check the safety of the ground surface around the play equipment. Make sure there is cushioning to minimize harm if you fall. If you find any possibly dangerous objects, either carefully throws them away or ask an adult to. If this is risky, simply avoid playing in that area until it is clean and safe to play.
- Always try to land on your feet by bending your knees when you jump. Do not land on the ground on your knees.
- Avoid playing on wet equipment as this will make it slippery, and you may have more chances of getting hurt.
- Also, believe me, you don’t want to have skin-burns. So if you’re out to play in the sun, apply sunscreen before heading out. If the equipment is too hot, don’t play on it. Maybe evening would be a good time to compensate.
- To ensure playground health and safety, keep your shoelaces properly tied, so you don’t trip and fall. Try to wear as simple and comfortable clothes as you can, without any scarves, drawstrings, cords or loose ends that could get stuck or trapped in any equipment.
- Always check for your belongings before leaving the playground. Pick up your things and don’t leave them behind.
2. Safety Rules involving others
- Do not get involved in violent fights, verbal or physical abuse. Never push other kids and be careful you are not causing anybody harm.
- If more kids want to play with the same equipment, be patient and wait for your turn. You can organize forming a line, so everybody gets their fair chance.
- Keep your bikes, cycles and bags or any big stuff away from the play area as someone can stumble over it and get hurt. But keep your food and water nearby yet away from the play equipment in case you need it.
- It is good to play with other kids and make friends but inform your parents or guardian if an adult stranger approaches you or asks you do something.
3. Small Equipment Safety Rules
- If you are playing with a ball or a frisbee, and it goes out of the playground, seek help from a grown-up in retrieving it.
- When playing with hoops, ropes and such small equipment, keep yourself away from the big equipment and play areas for older kids.
- Make sure the equipment you play with does not have sharp edges or splinters.
- While playing with a skipping rope, make sure your shoelaces are properly tied and do not wear scarves or any piece of clothing that can come in the way and cause you to fall.
4. Safety Measures of the Big Swing
- Do not go very near to the swing and keep a safe distance if someone is swinging.
- Hold on to the suspending chains with both hands.
- Do not swing too high.
- It is also dangerous to stand or kneel on the swing.
- It is very unsafe to jump off a moving swing. If you want to get off it, first bring it to a halt slowly.
- If you cannot start swinging by yourself, ask your parent or an adult to gently give you a push.
5. Slide Safety
- While climbing the ladder of the slide, hold the handrail and keep your feet carefully one at a time. Don’t try to skip the steps or you may get hurt.
- In a queue, be a good kid and let the one ahead of you slide down before you go. Don’t push other kids. Give them enough room.
- One of the important safety tips for slides is making sure no one is present at the end of the slide, or you might end up kicking or falling over them.
- After you slide, get away from the front end quickly if there are other kids behind you in the queue.
- Again, if the slide is too hot, don’t play on it.
6. School Playground Safety
- Kids safety tips in the playground at their schools include playing under the supervision of a teacher.
- While playing, understand and follow any instructions your teacher gives regarding equipment.
- If you are playing in groups in a designated area, do not leave that area without the teacher’s permission.
- Keep your water bottle and food away from the play area but within a close reach.
- Don’t rush and run while leaving the playground. Form lines and retreat safely.
7. Seesaw Safety Tips
- The spring type seesaw is recommended for preschoolers.
- Choose to pair up with a kid about your own health and only one child should sit on a single seat.
- Sit facing each other, not facing outside.
- Keep a straight back and hold the holders with both hands, so you are balanced before you start playing.
- Maintain coordination with your partner and keep your feet to the sides, away from underneath the seat.
- Don’t try to climb on to the middle of the see-saw, especially a moving one.
8. Safety Rules for Climbing Apparatus
- If the climbing apparatus of any kind is already crowded, wait for a while until there is enough free space.
- Use both hands while climbing and do not take the next step up unless you are balanced in your present position.
- Keep distance from the person in front of you and give them enough leg space, so you don’t get a swinging leg.
- Never reach for bars and ropes too far or out of your reach.
- While climbing down, be careful not to hit others and make your way down slowly.
9. Fireman’s Pole Safety Rules
- Hold the pole with both hands and wrap your legs around it as you slide down the pole.
- Before sliding down always ensure that there is nobody at the bottom of the pole.
- While sliding down, don’t make too much of direct and extreme skin contact with the pole, apart from your hands and feet. Let your body slide down light and easy.
- Bend your knees slightly and land on your feet on the ground.
10. Merry-go-round Safety Tips
- Merry-go-rounds are safer for kids aged 4 years and above. Younger children tend to fall off them more often.
- Never have the rotation speed of the merry-go-round too fast, and out-of-control, neither before nor after you get on it.
- If you are old enough to operate the merry-go-round, that is, bring it to spin and climb on to it, the most important thing is your hand grip strength and balance. Once you’re on it safely, keep holding on to the bars tightly and enjoy the thrill.
- Make sure your feet are away from the pinch zones of the equipment if there are any. Don’t put your feet down or you might have them scraped.
- If you start feeling dizzy, ask someone to bring the merry-go-round to a halt. Don’t try to jump off it while it is spinning.
Playground Safety Precautions
1. Precautions Before the Playing Begins
- Use sunscreen on your kids to protect them from sunburns. Also, use mosquito repellent if required.
- If you are accompanying your child, try to carry a basic first aid kit, glucose water and some snacks.
- It is always better to make the proper sized and gripped shoes with tightly tied laces. Avoid taking them to playgrounds wearing slippers or flip-flops.
- Make it a habit for them to wear the simplest and most comfortable clothes when going out to play. And try not to worry about soiled clothes.
2. Supervision on The Playground
- Kids should play on equipment meant for their age. Keep younger kids away from play equipment meant for older kids and vice versa.
- Other important playground safety tips include adult supervision for surfaces and faulty equipment.
- Check for any rusted metal equipment or any screws, bolts sticking out or splintered wood equipment.
- Keep a watch on them while they run, jump, play or fight.
3. Choosing Appropriate Play Area for the Kids
- Depending on the age of your child, choose the right play equipment for them. There are mostly separate designated play areas for toddlers and older kids.
- Try to find the safest spots in terms of even and cushioned surface, if your kids are learning to walk.
- The bucket or baby swings are safest for young children aged above 1 year.
- Don’t let small kids play on the big slides as it can be dangerous.
4. Safe Surfaces for Playing
- Ground cushioning is very important should be shock absorbent.
- Instead of surfaces like asphalt, gravel, concrete or dirt, impact absorbing surfaces made of shredded rubber, wood chips, sand and levelled surfaces like mats, and smooth grounds are much safer for the kids.
- Surfaces should be free of trash or dangerous materials like broken glass or twisted metal.
- The sand should not be infested with bugs.
- The surfacing should extend to at least six feet in all directions. For swings, it should be double the height of the swings in length.
- Any loose-fill surface materials should be 12 inches deep for up to 8 feet high apparatus and should not be packed down.
5. Ensure Maintenance and Examination of the Playgrounds
- Inform the concerned authorities if the playground equipment is ill-maintained.
- If you find any serious risks such as harmful litter, rusted or broken equipment, pests and other dangers, report to an authorized body.
- Arrange for regular maintenance and examination of the playground by an authorized person.
Must Know Facts About Playground Safety for Children
- Playground injuries contribute to more than 200,000 children receiving emergency medical treatment in hospitals every year.
- Severe playground injuries include fractures, dislocations, internal injuries and concussions. About 56% of playground injuries are fractures and abrasions.
- 70% of the injuries to kids happen on public playgrounds.
- 45% of playground injuries occur due to improper supervision.
- More than 75% of the total playground injuries have resulted due to falls.
- The most number of injuries are caused by swings to kids up to 4 years old.
- Four-year-olds are the victims of the most traumatic brain injuries.
- Nearly 70% of play related deaths happen on home playgrounds.
- Statistics show that boys are more frequently injured than girls.
- The highest rate of injuries is found in children aged 5-9 years.
- Most injuries occur due to Monkey bars, climbing apparatus and swings.
Parents can make their children learn, enjoy and develop their motor and vestibular skills on the playground by adopting some safety precautions for the kids. Also, teaching the kids about responsible behaviour on playgrounds makes them less likely to get hurt.