Avoiding Playground Hazards
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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 200,000 children under 14 years of age visit emergency departments each year as a result of accidents on playgrounds at home, school, or in public parks.
Below are some tips from NSF International (www.nsf.org) and the Institute for Preventative Sports Medicine (www.ipsm.org) to help parents and community leaders prevent playground injuries:
- Don't install equipment on a hard ground surface such as concrete. Create and maintain a softer surface using wood mulch, shredded tires, or sand at least one foot in thickness.
- When designing a play area, separate play activities for swinging and jumping versus quiet play areas, such as sandboxes. Keep play areas for younger children separate from those intended for older children.
- Make sure equipment is made from durable materials free from sharp edges, rust, or exposed loose screws or nails and that it is properly maintained.
- When in a public park, look to be sure a barrier is in place between the play area and any nearby streets, such as a fence.
- Don't let kids play on any equipment with openings that could trap or squeeze their head or another body part.
- Make sure children's clothing doesn't contain any loose strings that could become caught in play equipment.
- Inspect your children's play area regularly to eliminate any potential environmental hazards that could cause an injury, such as holes in the ground.
By taking a few minutes to inspect playgrounds for potential hazards, you can help reduce your child's potential for injury.