With the kids back in school, or starting his or her very first days in kindergarten, we want to remember the Canadian Pediatric Society’s recommendations on playgrounds!
“Playgrounds can help children be active and healthy. They’re a place where children can run, jump, climb, slide and play with peers.
Adults and caregivers need to take care to ensure that children stay safe in the playground. Most playground injuries are caused when children fall from the equipment, but they can also happen if a child gets caught in or cut by equipment that isn’t well cared for.
When choosing a playground:
• Make sure the structures are right for your child’s age and stage of development.
• Make sure your child can reach and climb equipment on his own.
• Look for proper surfaces:• Good playground surfaces use sand, wood chips and synthetic (man-made) materials—such as shredded rubber—that are soft. These materials will help absorb a child’s fall.
• The fill should be deep and loose. For preschool equipment, the fill should be at least 15 cm (6 inches) deep. The fill should be at least 30 cm (12 inches) deep for full sized equipment.
• Grass, dirt, asphalt or concrete are not safe surfaces for playground equipment.
• Check that the equipment has strong handrails and barriers to help prevent falls.
• Equipment should be firmly anchored in the ground.
• Make sure there is no garbage, glass or animal feces on or around the equipment.
• Swings should be of a soft material like plastic, not wood or metal.
Before your child uses a playground:
• Check your child’s clothing. Make sure there are no drawstrings or other cords, which can get trapped in equipment.
• Use a neck warmer instead of a scarf and mitten clips instead of a cord during the winter months.
• Take off bicycle helmets. Your child’s head can get caught in a space between narrow openings and become stuck when the helmet is too big to pull back through.
• Put away skipping ropes while using the playground equipment.
Supervise your child
• Stay close to your child. An adult should be present to supervise children younger than 5 years at all times.
• Make sure that your child uses the equipment safely and correctly.
• Teach your child to watch for other children and to take turns on playground equipment.”
And remember, Dr. Jen is here for those unexpected playground falls and tooth injuries! Stay safe and above all have fun!