Playgrounds are a great gathering place in the back yard or local parks. Falls from playground equipment is one of the major injury areas seen in the ER at Altru Health System. To keep your kids better protected on the playground, here are some basic safety tips.
- Adequate surfacing is the number one way to prevent injuries, broken bones and concussions. There should be at LEAST 9-12” of proper surfacing material below playground equipment. Proper surfacing includes sand, pea rock, rubber mulch, or wood chips. Grass is NOT an acceptable surfacing material.
- When installing a new playground and surfacing area below the equipment, place a mark on the legs of the equipment at 9” up on the leg. Cover the ground with the chosen material well above that marking (3-5”). As the surfacing material wears away and the marker line is exposed, you will know it is time to refill.
- Be sure that the surfacing extends at least 6 feet beyond all equipment on each side. This includes 6’ beyond the highest point at which a swing will extend when in the “swing” mode.
- Remember that surfacing will become displayed in areas such as the bottom of slides or under swings. These areas need to be periodically filled in with additional surfacing materials.
- Remove draw strings from children’s clothing before allowing them to play on playground equipment. Don’t allow back packs on the playground equipment either.
- Never wear a bike helmet while playing on a playground. The openings are made large enough to fit a head and shoulders but not if the head size is enlarged due to a helmet.
- Report any concerns with public playgrounds to the appropriate entities right away. This may include broken or missing parts, broken glass, debris, or other noted hazards.
- Playgrounds are generally designed for children of two different age categories, ages 2-5 and ages 5-12. Children should play on the age appropriate equipment designed for their development level.
Remember, play is a great way to for kids to stay healthy, have fun and engage with other children. Just remember, playground injuries can be prevented with simple steps that keep injuries from occurring.
Safe Kids Grand Forks conducts playground safety training as part of our services. These are designed for schools or child care providers. For more information on this, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article and many others on summer safety topics will be appearing in our Safe Kids Grand Forks newsletter that is published 5 times per year. This is due to come out on 5-24-2012. To sign up for an automatic notification when the newsletter is published, visit http://www.altru.org/patients-visitors/enewsletter-sign-up-form/ and sign up with your e-mail address.
Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks. For more information on playground safety or other injury risk areas, visit www.safekidsgf.com or contact us at 701-780-1489.