Playground Safety Tips
For children, playing is more than just a fun way to spend an afternoon; it’s how they develop and learn life skills necessary to grow. Play assists with developing motor skills, discovering strengths, and building healthy social connections. Parents and teachers are the first line of defense when it comes to making sure your children play safely and develop into healthy adults. Our team has years of experience designing and building high-quality playground systems with ASTM-tested artificial grass and turf. Our installations help protect children so they can enjoy more playtime – safely. Here are some additional tips to keep kids safe on the playground:
Go over playground rules with children and make sure they know how to use all equipment before they go out to play. Common playground rules include using each piece of equipment for its intended purpose (i.e. not standing on a swing) and restricting horseplay or other inappropriate behavior that could cause injury. Make sure children know what is expected of them during playtime – and what the consequences are when rules are broken.
At school playgrounds, the recess monitor’s job is to control the playground area to keep children safe. High-risk equipment like monkey bars and swings should be as close to the monitor as possible, while lower-risk areas like baseball fields are farther out. Recess monitors can remind children about proper use of equipment and enforce safety rules as necessary.
Install Age-Appropriate Equipment
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), different equipment has been approved for different age groups. Toddlers (ages 6-24 months) should be given swings with full bucket seats, stairways and ramps. Climbing equipment should be no higher than 32 inches. Preschoolers (ages 2-5 years) may use climbers, merry-go-rounds, rung ladders, and swings with belts. Keep equipment at least 60 inches off the ground. For grade schoolers (ages 5-12 years), more advanced equipment may be provided, including arch climbers, chain or cable walks, overhead rings, and vertical sliding poles.
Review Safety Ratings
Consider the safety of all equipment prior to purchase. Look up certifications and make sure the equipment is in compliance with ASTM guidelines. Familiarize yourself with any maintenance required to keep the equipment in working order – even in inclement weather.
Surfacing should also be considered. A large number of playground injuries are caused by falls from equipment onto hard surfaces. These are often also the most serious injuries. Always look for surfaces that are shock absorbent. Our artificial playground turf, for example, has a soft, padded layer that can protect children from falls. Our installation methods are also ASTM-tested and IPEMA-approved.
Equipment that is not approved by the CPSC includes:
- Hard or multiple occupancy swings
- Rope swings
- Dual exercise rings
- Equipment over 10 feet high
Appropriate Post-Injury Care
Always err on the side of caution when it comes to playground injuries. This means planning for injuries before they ever actually happen. Schools should have protocol in place to assist injured students, including a way to summon assistance without leaving the child. This could involve tools like two-way radios, cell phones or whistles. Playground monitors should be trained in CPR and first aid. Parents may also consider taking these classes from the Red Cross or from their local fire department.
It’s up to all of us to create safe playground systems so children can enjoy playtime. Contact us today to learn more about installing safe playground surfaces and equipment for your school or backyard.