Each year, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. Most of these accidents are caused by falls off equipment. Look for a playground with impact-absorbing surfaces like wood chips, sand and mulch. Avoid structures that sit on hard surfaces such as asphalt and concrete.
Kids of all ages and abilities can expand their imaginations and learn valuable skills when they play on playgrounds. However, many playground injuries can be avoided if proper supervision is in place. Parents, teachers and child care providers should be present to supervise children at all times, enforce safety regulations (i.e. the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s guidelines for playground surfaces), and keep the playground clean.
People who supervise kids at the playground will inevitably be distracted at some point, but they should try to limit those distractions as much as possible. For example, it’s important to have a zero tolerance policy for cell phone use around children. People who watch kids should also be briefed on the proper procedures for addressing injuries or emergencies. It can be helpful to create a cheat sheet for playground supervisors to carry with them that contains emergency protocols, like how to deal with head injuries, as well as inspection and maintenance procedures.
Playground equipment invites children of all ages and abilities to run, jump, climb, slide and play with their friends. While many playground injuries are caused by falls, children can also get caught in equipment or cut on structures that don’t meet safety standards. Proper equipment and routine inspections are key to preventing incidents. A layered safety surface of engineered wood fiber, recycled rubber mulch or poured-in-place rubber absorbs falls and is a great way to reduce injury risks. These surfacing options are available in different colors to complement any outdoor environment.
Signs that indicate the age range of the equipment help kids understand what kinds of activities are safe for them. Additionally, removing hazards that can snag or trap children—such as ropes, drawstrings and helmet straps—will keep them safer. Spacing between equipment is important as well—children should be able to move from one structure to another without getting trapped. Checking gaps before they can be used by children is a quick and simple way to prevent injury.
When it comes to playground surfacing, the material under your play equipment is just as important as the equipment itself. Children inevitably fall when they are playing and the right surface will absorb those hard falls to prevent serious injuries. There are a variety of materials available for 안전놀이터 surfacing including poured in place rubber, safety tile and synthetic turf. Solid surfacing options like these are often ADA compliant, have high shock absorption and are easy to maintain.
Another option is engineered wood fiber which looks similar to grass but requires much less maintenance. It also offers excellent shock absorption and a natural look. Loose-fill surfacing is another good option for your playground. Sand, wood chips, shredded rubber and pea gravel are all good choices for loose fill surfacing and should be regularly inspected and replaced as needed. Unitary surfacing such as tiles and turf are another option for a safe playground but these have higher upfront installation costs and may need to be replaced more frequently than loose-fill surfaces.
A good safety playground should have a designated person responsible for maintenance, and that person needs to be trained properly. This can be a professional company, an employee or even a volunteer. They need to understand what types of problems and injuries to watch out for, and they need to know when and how to report them. Regular inspections should also be scheduled for the safety surfacing. For example, poured-in-place rubber requires periodic “conditioning” or rebinding to keep its granules intact and ensure it continues to provide superior fall-cushioning properties. It’s also important to remove any debris that accumulates under equipment or in the vicinity of play areas.
When playground equipment and surfacing aren’t working correctly, children miss out on the fun and the community loses out on an attractive and joyous place to connect. Keeping up with maintenance and reporting problems prevents children from getting hurt and helps maintain the integrity of your investment.
Playgrounds are an excellent way for kids to exercise, but injuries happen. Many are due to tripping and some are even serious, like concussions. Look for equipment that is age-appropriate and survey the area to ensure there are no apparent hazards.