Family Magazine

National Playground Safety Week

By Jean Campbell

Growing up in NYC in the 50′s, playgrounds were the place to be. Unfortunately, those were the days when concrete lined the surfaces in the playgrounds and monkey bars and slides were all made of materials that were slippery in the damp weather and burning hot in the warm months. I’m sure there would have been a lot less trips to emergency rooms, less stitches, bruises and broken bones if the playground safety standards described below were in place then.

National Playground Safety Week 2011 is April 25-29, 2011.

logo for playground safetyThe National Program for Playground Safety suggests that you take this week to review the safety features and standards of the playgrounds your child(ren) use.

Here is a quick playground safety check list the National Program for Playground Safety recommends to keep your children safe:

  • Make sure that there is adult supervision in a playground.  Adult presence is needed to watch for potential hazards, observe, intercede and facilitate play when necessary.
  • There should be no strings on clothing or ropes used for play that can cause accidental strangulation if caught on equipment.
  • Children need to play on age-appropriate equipment. Preschoolers, ages 2 – 5, and children ages 5 – 12, are developmentally different and need different equipment located in separate areas to insure  playground safety and fun for all.
  • Cushioning is critical for playground surfaces . Nearly 70 percent of all playground injuries are related to falls to the surface. Acceptable surfaces include hardwood fiber/mulch, pea gravel, sand and synthetic materials such as poured-in-place, rubber mats or tiles. Playground safety is dependent on surfaces not be concrete, asphalt, grass, blacktop, packed dirt or rocks.
  • Equipment needs to be checked regularly to make sure it is safe for use. Always check to make sure the equipment is anchored safely in the ground, all equipment pieces are in good working order, S-hooks are entirely closed, bolts are not protruding and there are no exposed footings, etc.

Playground Safety checklists are available from the CPSC or go to www.uni.edu/playground


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