We’re all for any reason to keep kids safe so we’re more than happy to inform you that this week is National Playground Safety Week. Safe Kids USA asks “do you know what to look for to make sure your playground is safe? Sometimes the risks don’t appear as obvious as those associated with swimming or biking; but, they’re there and easy to spot. You just need to know what to look for.”
And the risks are all too real – not just at public playgrounds but at home and school playgrounds too. Consider these sobering stats:
- The leading cause of death related to the playground and playground equipment is strangulation, accounting for over 50% of the deaths.
- Nearly 70% of all playground related deaths occur on home playgrounds.
- Falls are the most common mode of playground injury accounting for approximately 80% of all playground-related injuries and about 20% of all deaths.
- About 45% of playground-related injuries are severe, which include fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations.
- More from the Playground Safety Fact Sheet
If you are a parent or if you have kids in your life, these stats should put you on alert! It’s important for parents to advocate for their kids to ensure safe public playgrounds. It’s also important for parents who are homeowners to ensure that any private play areas meet the best and safest standards, too. Don’t forget about the pools!
Here are Top Playground Safety Tips from Safe Kids:
- Playground surfacing material should be 12 inches deep and extend 6 feet in all directions around equipment.
- Look for playgrounds with shredded rubber, mulch, wood chips or sand. Grass and soil are not good surfaces.
- Make sure playground equipment is inspected frequently and kept in good repair. If it’s not, report this to your local parks and recreations office.
- Remove hood and neck drawstrings from children’s clothing and outerwear and don’t let kids wear helmets, necklaces, purses or scarves on the playground.
- Don’t allow your kids to engage in, or play near, any pushing, shoving or crowding around playground equipment.
- Keep toddlers under age 5 in a separate play area, away from equipment designed for bigger kids.
- Actively supervise kids on a playground. Just being in the same area isn’t good enough – they need your undivided attention while playing on or around the equipment.
Safe Kids has a variety of other useful tools to help you know what to look for in assessing playground safety. Here are a few good resources:
Tips for parents in assessing the safety of a playground
Sports Injury Prevention Tips
State laws on concussion prevention (PDF)
Concussion Guide for Parents (PDF)
Sports Safety Checklist (PDF)
Dehydration & heat illness prevention