Simple tips to keep your kids safe on the playground
With warmer weather comes summer break for kids across the county. Emergency physicians urge parents and children alike to be extra wary this summer when using playground equipment.
More than 200,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each year for playground-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We want kids to have fun but also stay safe,” says Dr. Valerie Phillips, emergency room physician at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. “Many of the diverse injuries children receive on playgrounds can be prevented with a little more awareness and knowledge from them and their parents.”
According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, about 75 percent of nonfatal injuries involving playground equipment occur on public playgrounds such as those at schools or daycare centers. More than half are fractures or contusions, but more than 20,000 children are treated for traumatic brain injuries, including concussion, each year.
Dr. Philips offers the following tips to keep children safe this summer:
- Closely supervise any young children on a playground. If you are there with other adults, try to split up and watch play from several different angles.
- Teach your child to follow safety rules, including how to safely use the equipment, not to push and to stay out of the path of moving equipment such as swings. A child who knows about staying safe is easier to keep safe.
- The playground facility should be properly maintained. Check for broken equipment and debris.
- Make sure there is proper playground surfacing to help cushion the blow of falls. Wood chips, sand, shredded rubber and pea gravel are all good examples.
- Stay away from a crowded playground. Better to wait for a time when all children can be properly monitored.
- Be sure your child is age-appropriate for the equipment, whether they be too old or too young.
- Dress for safe play – no clothing with drawstrings, necklaces, scarves, bike helmets or anything that could present a choking hazard or block peripheral vision.
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About the Author
Nathan Lurz, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital. He has nearly a decade of professional news experience as a reporter and editor, and a lifetime of experience as an enthusiastic learner. On the side, he enjoys writing even more, tabletop games, reading, running and explaining that his dog is actually the cutest dog, not yours, sorry.