August 24, 2021

The playground is a great spot for children to get activity and run off steam. Use these playground safety tips on your next trip to the park.

Outdoor play and childhood go together. Children playing without a few scrapes and bruises? Not so much.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency rooms in the United States attend to more than 200,000 playground-related injuries every year. About 75 percent of non-fatal injuries happen at public playgrounds. Most injuries on public playgrounds occur on climbers, while swings are responsible for the majority of injuries at home.

Here are some simple playground safety tips to make a visit to the playground safe and fun:

  • Check the playground. Playground equipment can become rusted, broken, covered by trash or damaged by debris that can blow into your child’s play area. Inspect each play area, every visit, to check for potential hazards. Avoid playgrounds that do not have protective surfaces such as sand, rubber or mulch under the equipment. On hot days, check that surfaces aren’t too hot to the touch, to avoid painful surprises.
  • Supervise children. This is one sounds simple, but in today’s technology-driven world, it is easy to get get distracted by phones, laptops and mobile devices. Just being outside with your children is not enough. Make sure you are actively watching them so you can warn them if you see any potential safety hazards.
  • Use age-appropriate equipment. Would you send a 2-month-old flying down a water slide? Probably not, but you might let a small child play on monkey bars that are meant for older children with longer arms. Pay attention to age guidelines to protect your child from injury.
  • Remove drawstrings. Your child may have the cutest outfit in the park, but some clothing can actually threaten your child’s safety on a playground. Make sure shoelaces are tied tightly to avoid tripping, and remove drawstrings from the clothing around your child’s head or neck to prevent choking.
  • Teach playground rules. Sometimes the biggest hazard on a playground can be another child. Although they may not intend to harm each other, children can get caught up in the excitement of playing. This can lead to pushing, shoving and trying to use equipment at the same time, which increases the chance of injury. Tell children to use equipment one at a time, and encourage them to walk to each piece of equipment instead of running.

Playing outdoors is a great way to keep children active and physically fit. Remember to give your children plenty of water to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion in hot weather. Parents should also take children inside if lightning or thunderstorms are approaching.

common playground injuries

Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is among the top children’s hospitals in the nation. More than 500 physicians in 30 pediatric and surgical specialties offer everything from basic preventive care to treatment for the most complex pediatric conditions. Our specialists offer expert care close to home, throughout Middle Tennessee and beyond.

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