Playground Safety: Avoiding Falls
When on a playground, private or public, some of those injuries can be prevented. The rubber flooring called safety surfacing mentioned in part one of this two part series is one way to limit injuries, but there are several more that parents and children should familiarize themselves with, including arguably the most important.
“Falling from the playground equipment (is the biggest safety concern) because people are not very careful about checking to be sure that the surfacing is in the right place,” says Dr. Donna Thompson, Director of National Program for Playground Safety. According to statistics gathered from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 80 percent of all injuries on a playground are due to children falling off the equipment. It is this statistic that leads Thompson to recommend at least 12 inches of loose fill surfacing around all the equipment.
A main key to prevent falls to the surface is parental supervision; including knowing which playground your children are playing on.
“If you are going to a park, be sure that parents take the children to age appropriate designed playgrounds,” says Thompson. The size of the swings, slides, monkey bars, etc. should help parents decipher if the playground is suitable for the age group 2-5, or for ages 5-12.
Finally, it is important to make sure that the playground is well maintained. Check for dangerous materials near the equipment, such as broken glass or a broken playset. Having plastic equipment rather than metal equipment is also very important because when in the sun the metal can get very hot and burn children’s skin. Remember, if any of the equipment looks unsafe, keep your children away.