Whether at the local park or in your own backyard, nothing beats watching your kids immerse themselves in the simple and healthy joy of the playground. But with all that unbridled energy comes safety hazards. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) provides quick but important tips to help make the playground a safer place.
A recent report from the CPSC found that from 2009 to 2014, nearly 1.5 million injuries associated with playground equipment were treated nationally in emergency departments. Annually, that breaks down to about 243,000 ER treated injuries.
The report also finds:
- The two most common hazard patterns are falls and dangers posed by the equipment, which together account for 81 percent of the reported incidents.
- The most common diagnoses are fractures and contusions/abrasions.
- Monkey bars and swings account for the majority of the total injuries, although slides account for one-fifth of the injuries.
- More than half of the victims seen in ER's were between ages five and nine.
Fortunately, the CPSC provides the following “golden rules” of playground safety:
- Always supervise children and make sure they are using playground equipment appropriate for their age.
- Never attach ropes, jump ropes, pet leashes or strings to playground equipment.
- Make sure children's clothing does not have any drawstrings as they can catch on slides and other equipment.
- Make sure surfaces around playgrounds have 9-12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, or mats made of safety-tested rubber.
- Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar. Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
- Don't let kids play on slides/surfaces that are burning hot. Keep in mind, the temperature doesn’t have to be that high - if it feels hot to your hand, it may be too hot for a child's bare skin.
Keep these tips in mind and help children safely enjoy your playground.