← Go back Playground Safety 101
Published on Friday, April 28, 2017 by

Playgrounds and outdoor play equipment offer kids fresh air, friends, and exercise. So it’s important for parents to make sure that faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behavior don’t ruin the fun. Here’s tip on how to keep your child safe while on the playground.

Keep your child off equipment that is higher than 1.5 metres (five feet). For children under five years of age, stand right beside your child when she is climbing, riding in a swing or playing on equipment above the ground. You should be able to reach your child easily at all times. You can help prevent her from falling.

Supervise your child closely and ensure they know how to use equipment safely. If your child is between five and nine years of age, watch what she is doing. Children this age like to take chances. Make sure your child uses equipment safely.

Look for a sign identifying the intended age group for the equipment and keep your child off equipment that is meant for older children. Playgrounds often have equipment for two different age groups: children younger than five years of age, and children from five to 12 years of age. If your child cannot reach a piece of equipment, then she should not use it. It is meant for older children.

Teach your child these common playground safety rules:

  • Wait your turn.
  • Slide down feet first.
  • Don’t go up the slide ladder until the other person has gone down the slide.
  • Hold on to railings.
  • Sit down on swings and slides.
  • Keep away from moving swings and the bottom of slides.
  • Before using the playground, remove helmets, scarves and drawstrings.
  • Remove anything that could strangle your child. Take off any strings or drawstrings on your child’s clothing. In winter, use clips instead of strings to hold mittens to clothing. Your child can wear a neck warmer instead of a scarf.
  • Make sure your child puts aside skipping ropes and bike helmets before climbing on playground equipment.

Check the Playground
The playground should have a deep, soft surface as well as handrails and barriers to prevent falls. Watch out for sharp objects or spaces where your child’s head could get stuck. Choose a playground with a deep, soft surface instead of one with a dirt or grass surface. Sand, pea gravel, wood chips, rubber crumb, or soft rubber mats are some good examples. These will help protect your child if he falls. If the surface in your playground is not deep and soft, keep your child on equipment that is close to the ground.

Dig the heel of your shoe into the surface to see how deep it is. It should be 15 to 30 cm (six to 12 inches) deep. If the surface has worn away at the bottom of a slide or under a swing, you can push more of it into place with your shoe.

Before you let your child use any equipment that he might fall from, make sure it has good handrails, barriers and railings to prevent falls.

Watch out for areas where your child’s head or neck could get stuck. Spaces might be big enough for your child’s body but might trap his head or neck. This could strangle your child. Safe spaces are smaller than nine cm (3.5 inches) and larger than 22.5 cm (nine inches). Places to check include the spaces between the steps on a slide and spaces between railings.

Look for broken glass, garbage, sharp edges, and bolts that stick out. Pick up any glass or garbage before your child plays. If your child is old enough, teach him to stay away from sharp edges or bolts. Watch a young child closely to prevent him from bumping into sharp edges.

For more information: www.parachutecanada.org

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