It’s that time of year again, the weather is getting nicer and you may be bringing your kids out to the playground or park. However, playgrounds are accident-prone areas for kids. Accidents happen even if you take every precaution, but there are things you can do to lessen the risk of injury at the playground.
Do your research about the playground
Especially if this is the first time you’re going to a certain playground, make sure you scope it out first or ask other people if they have been there. You want to make sure…
- that you can easily supervise your kids at the playground. Make sure there are benches around the park within a close proximity of the equipment and nothing blocks your vision.
- equipment is up-to-date. Older equipment can be dangerous for multiple reasons, like stability issues, rust, or loose screws/nails.
- the playground is clean. You don’t want any trash or dangerous objects on the grass or playground area.
- you know the material. Metal playgrounds can get very hot, so you want to make sure there is good shade over the equipment. Or wood playgrounds may have splinters or loose pieces. You want to know that so you can properly dress your child in preparation.
Know your child
Each child is different and has different needs. For instance:
- Should they be guided on the playground? Some kids are fine to go on the playground by themselves as long as you can watch them. However, some need you to guide them through the playground. This depends on the child’s age and abilities. A good rule of thumb is if they’re under 4, walk around with them on the playground. If they’re older than 4, use your best judgment.
- Their age. Make sure to guide them to the right age-appropriate equipment.
- Their safety knowledge. Make sure you have the safety talk with your children. It’s good to give them 3-4 guidelines/rules on the playground, like “make sure I can see my mom/dad at all times”, “share equipment and go on them one-by-one”, “don’t run in a crowded area”, etc.
It’s important for you child to get exercise, and to get social activity, but it’s more important that they stay safe. If you have any questions about safety, or what to do in case of an injury, talk to your pediatrician today.