Is Your Child’s Playground Safe?

Play time is an important part of a child’s development process, as it is when crucial life skills are learned that will help the child have a happy and productive adult life.
For play time to be effective, however, there needs to be a space where children can enjoy, explore, and experiment while having minimal risks of injuries—this is what playgrounds are for.

Cuts and Bruises Are a Natural Part of Childhood

As much as injuries are a part of growing up, it is our job as adults to make sure that we provide our children with a safe environment. Since we already understand how children need play time, the best that we can do is to make sure their playgrounds are an ideal place for them to nurture their natural curiosity and wonder.

Parents must also learn to accept that it simply isn’t possible to control everything. Taking first aid and CPR courses is a good way to prepare for any medical emergencies that might happen on the playground.

How to Evaluate a Playground’s Safety
Almost 80% of playground injuries are caused by falls. Realistically, many of these fall-related injuries are caused by rough or careless play, especially in crowded playgrounds.

Elevated areas such as platforms should always have guardrails around the edges to prevent children from falling. Additionally, the spaces between these rails should be well-designed. That means that there are no head-entrapment spaces or wide gaps that children can slip through.

Other potential dangers to look out for:
  • Poor maintenance of activity areas and equipment
  • Pinch points and sharp edges
  • Protrusions and tangling hazards
  • Trip hazards such as loose cables or ropes
  • Overcrowded areas
  • Contaminated items
  • Broken bottles and sharp cans and lids
  • Slippery surfaces that don’t have proper flooring
  • Vandalism or graffiti (a sign that the playground has been neglected)
Other considerations when choosing a playground for your kids:

Grounds or Flooring

A playground’s flooring should be made of rubber, artificial grass, or any non-toxic material that makes the surface slip-resistant. Play sand or pea gravel is also good for children to run around and play with.

Make sure that there are no rocks, glass, or sharp debris at the base of slides. These can make it dangerous for a child that’s landing at the bottom. Also, the cleared area at the front of the slide’s bottom should at least be equal in distance to the slide platform’s height to give enough space for children to stop without running into obstacles.

Appropriate Age Ranges

Parents should find out whether a playground is age-appropriate for the child. In fact, manufacturers are required to label equipment according to three age groups: 6-23 months, 2-5 years-old, or 5-12 years-old.

If a child is forced to play in a playground with activity areas meant for older kids, there’s an increased chance that the child will sustain injuries from improper use or from falling.

Moving Parts and Nets

Merry-go-rounds, suspension bridges, and seesaws can be risky for younger children without the presence of an adult to supervise. It’s important to check that moving parts are well-lubricated and that net openings aren’t big enough for your child’s head to go through.

Metal and Wood Surfaces

Metal rusting can cause the structure to become weakened or develop sharp edges over time. Additionally, metal surfaces can heat up fast under direct sunlight, which can cause contact burns on your little ones. Wooden equipment, on the other hand, can also deteriorate and become splintered, which is dangerous for both kids and adults.

Regular and Proper Playground Maintenance is Crucial for Children’s Safety

One of the best ways to tell if a playground is safe is to check if it’s been well-maintained. There should be someone who regularly inspects the condition of the equipment and hears out the concerns of parents.

It is possible to let your children play and explore in a safe environment. Using the information in this guide, you can easily evaluate whether your child’s play area is a place where you can let them be as adventurous as they want to be without worrying.

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