Playgrounds provide children with hours of fun, giving them a chance to play with friends, participate in an exercise, and get fresh air. It’s important that playground safety rules are established and followed. Every year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200,000 children end up in the emergency room because of playground-related injuries — many of which could have been prevented.

You can find more information about these injuries at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For example, on public playgrounds, injuries occur most often on monkey bars and other climbing equipment, with children ages 5 to 9 having the highest rate of emergency room visits for playground-related injuries.GettyImages-1126778861

So, how can you help to prevent injuries from happening?

First, there should always be adult supervision. When considering which public playgrounds to use, choose ones that allow you to easily see all play areas. Take a look at equipment and surfaces alike, as well, choosing ones with surfaces made of safety rubber, or with a thick layer of wood chips, mulch, pea gravel or sand.

Explain how you want the children to use the playground equipment and make sure they follow those rules. Some rules could include avoiding any roughhousing, making sure other kids are out of the way before getting off a piece of equipment and avoiding pieces that are wet. Ensure that each child is using equipment that’s appropriate to his or her size, developmental level and ability.

Each specific type of play equipment and surrounding play areas should also have specific rules.

Swing Set Safety Tips

Tell children to sit on the swing, rather than stand or kneel, and hold on tight with both hands. Discourage them from jumping off, and make it a rule that no one is allowed to walk or run in front of other children who are swinging.

To help prevent injuries before they begin swinging, make sure there is enough cleared distance in front of and behind a swing; that the seats are made of a soft material, whether that’s plastic, rubber, or canvas; that hooks are secure; and the swing sets themselves are securely anchored into the ground. Also, make sure that individual swings are not too closely placed together.

Seesaw Safety Tips

Children should always face one another on the seesaw, with only one child per side. The children should be relatively similar in weight. As with the swings, children should hold on tightly with both hands.

Slide Safety Tips

When climbing up this piece of play equipment, children should hold on to the handrail and take one step at a time up the ladder. When it’s time to slide down, it should be feet first, sitting up. Make it a rule that children should not be standing at the bottom of a sliding board and tell the slider to check for them before going down.

Before the children begin to use the slide, make sure there are no rocks, sticks, glass or debris at the bottom.

Climbing Equipment Safety Tips

The greatest number of playground-related injuries occur with climbing equipment, so adult supervision is especially important here. Children should always use both hands and watch out for swinging feet of other climbers.

Before the climbing equipment is used, check it for sharp edges, including but not limited to nails and screws sticking out. Make sure the children aren’t wearing clothing or jewelry that could get caught on equipment and choke them; for example, sweatshirts with drawstrings or necklaces. If this piece of playground equipment is more than 30 inches off the ground, it should have guardrails or other barriers to help prevent falls.

By following these safety tips, children can have countless hours of fun!

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