Spending time at the park is a wonderful way to get the kids outdoors for fresh air and sunshine. Best of all, kids tire themselves out so they sleep better at night. But being at the park also means there’s a chance for scrapes, bumps and bruises. According to the CDC, more than 200,000 children ages 14 and under go to the ER every year due to playground-related injuries.
With proper supervision and attention, you can prevent unnecessary injuries and keep your child safe at the playground. Here are some tips for ensuring safety in all ages.
Choose Safe Playgrounds
One of the best decisions you can make is to choose the best playgrounds for your child. Pick an age-appropriate park that has shock-absorbing surfacing materials, sturdy equipment and guardrails. Avoid playgrounds with concrete or grass, tripping hazards, broken equipment or hardware sticking out. Also, before your child plays on a hot day, check the slides and swings to avoid burns.
Enforce Safe Play
Since you can’t be there for everything that happens on the playground, it’s important to teach your child how to play safely. Talk to your child about the dangers of shoving or pushing on a play structure and make sure they’re using the equipment safely and correctly. Enforcing these rules early on will help them stick.
Kids of all ages need to be supervised when playing at the park. It’s the best way to ensure they’re playing safely and using the equipment properly. Most parents are confident in their child’s physical capabilities, but typically, toddlers should be “shadowed” by a parent while older kids can be watched from a safe distance.
Pay Attention to Age Recommendations
Many playgrounds separate their play structures based on age. Pay attention to the age recommendations because structures for older children are usually higher off the ground with harder skill levels and larger openings. And if you have a toddler, you probably don’t want them running alongside the older kids!
Respond Quickly to Injuries
Even with close supervision, accidents still happen at the park. Have a first aid kit on hand with all the essentials: bandaids, wet wipes, disposable gloves, antibiotic cream, etc. These items will help you treat minor cuts and scrapes. However, if your child takes a fall and you’re worried about a broken bone, respond by immobilizing the area, applying ice and taking them to a doctor.
Remember - safe play outdoors starts with choosing the right playground. Cunningham Recreation is a leading expert in the design and construction of custom playgrounds. We put safety first while ensuring a fun, interactive and inclusive environment for every child!