Play It Safe on the Playground
Whatever your child imagines, a playground can be: a pirate ship, a fort, a medieval castle. Playgrounds are perfect places to exercise your child’s mind and body. A few precautions can help keep these areas of adventure and activity safe.
Too many U.S. children suffer injuries on playgrounds every year. The latest statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reveal that more than 600,000 children were injured in 2012. The most common reason: falls. They account for more than 40 percent of playground mishaps. Many of these injuries occur on monkey bars, swings, and slides.
Children between the ages of 5 and 9 most often need emergency care for playground injuries. Besides the occasional scrape or bruise, more serious injuries frequently include fractures, concussions, and sprains. Burns are another potential playground risk. Even though many slides and other equipment are no longer made of metal, plastic and rubber surfaces can still become too hot for a child’s delicate skin.
Home playgrounds may be especially hazardous. In a recent study in the journal Injury Prevention, researchers compared 13 years of injury data for home and public playgrounds. They found younger children were more often injured on home play sets. What’s more, those injuries tended to be more severe. Why? Homeowners may not always follow proper playground construction, including installing soft landing surfaces.
Not all playground injuries can be prevented. But you can limit these accidents. Experts, such as the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the CPSC, recommend the following safety measures:
If you have a home playground or want to build one, keep these additional precautions in mind.
Learn more home safety tips.
CDC – Playground Injuries: Fact Sheet www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Playground-Injuries/playgroundinjuries-factsheet.htm
National Safety Council www.nsc.org
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission www.cpsc.gov
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