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Keeping Kids Safe On Safety Playgrounds

Keeping kids safe on playgrounds begins with a well-designed space. The equipment should be age-appropriate and surrounded by appropriate surfacing that meets safety standards set by ASTM. Most playground injuries are the result of falls, so it’s important to teach kids safe falling techniques. Proper supervision is another key to playground safety.

Safety Standards

A playground is a place of adventure, joy and imagination. However, it can also be a dangerous place if the equipment or surfacing is not safe or up to code. In fact, playground-related injuries send 200,000 children 14 years of age and younger to emergency departments each year. The best way to reduce these dangerous incidents is to make sure your playground meets or exceeds the safety standards of an independent testing laboratory. Then, a maintenance plan should be established that includes thorough inspections and repairs to ensure the playground stays in top condition.

Keeping a hard copy checklist can be helpful to ensure that each piece of equipment is properly installed, inspected and maintained at the required depths and that no tripping hazards are present. Additionally, it’s important to remind children to remove necklaces and other drawstrings that may get caught on equipment, as these can lead to strangulation. Finally, it is important to remove any obstacles that can trap children, such as gaps between ladder rungs or openings in guardrails.

Safety Equipment

The equipment used in 안전놀이터 should be inspected to ensure that it does not have protrusions or entanglement hazards. These include gaps and spaces that could catch on clothing or jewelry worn by children. Sharp edges, protruding hardware and exposed bolt ends on metal structures also pose potential dangers to kids.

Protective surfacing should extend on all sides of play equipment, and it should be designed to absorb impact. This can be engineered wood fiber, recycled rubber mulch or a unitary safety surface such as poured-in-place or synthetic turf. Some surfacing materials are processed to remove threads and steel that can poke children when they fall. It’s also important to have age-appropriate equipment, since kids of different ages need to be able to interact safely with each other. In addition, many parents prefer to have inclusive equipment that allows kids with special needs to join the fun. This helps foster parental trust and can help prevent injuries among all children, even those without disabilities.

Supervision

The vast majority of playground injuries are caused by a lack of adult supervision. A thorough training program for playground supervisors should cover topics such as a basic understanding of the equipment and age appropriateness, the rules and guidelines for safe play, hazards that are common in playgrounds and how to spot them and intervene appropriately when necessary.

A well-rounded training program should also include a demonstration of playground safety procedures and an outline for supervisors to follow during recess or other outdoor activities. This may include the use of a walkie-talkie or a system for calling the nurse or an emergency services number. A good safety program should also address blind spots on the playground where supervision is difficult due to physical obstacles or other equipment that blocks a supervisor’s view of the entire area. Creating zones for supervision can help eliminate these blind spots and improve the ability to monitor children at all times.

Ground Surface

A playground’s ground surface, also called a safety surface, can be as important to playground safety as the equipment itself. A playground without a safe surfacing can be very dangerous and even life-threatening for children who fall to the ground. In general, the surfacing material should be soft and absorbent to cushion falls from play equipment. The surface must also provide traction to prevent slips and skidding. And it must meet accessibility standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The most popular surfacing options are loose-fill materials like rubber mulch, engineered wood fiber (EWF), playground sand and pea gravel. These materials are inexpensive to install, but require more frequent maintenance to keep them at the recommended depth. They can also be displaced, allowing shards of glass and other debris to become buried. In addition, loose-fill surfaces are more prone to catching fire than unitary materials. This is a serious concern and must be addressed with regular raking, compaction, and top-ups.

Conclusion

Each year, more than 200,000 children 14 and under are treated in emergency departments for playground-related injuries. Keep kids safe by steering them to age-appropriate equipment and examining the area for hazards. A safe playground should have impact-absorbing surfaces, such as sand, wood chips or shredded rubber, rather than hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt. Also look for barriers that prevent kids from running into the street.

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