Play is a child's work and playgrounds are a critical part of their environment. Keeping those structures safe is a task we all need to share. National Playground Safety Week, celebrated April 25 to 29, reminds us all to make playgrounds safer for all kids.
Are playground injuries common?
A staggering 200,000 children suffered harm in playground accidents each year between 2001 and 2008, according to the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS).
National Playground Safety Week increases overall awareness of the risks of injury on playgrounds and offers ways that parents, teachers, and caregivers can manage those risks.
What can parents do to keep their kids safe?
Parents can be proactive by:
Watching Their Children
Your children are what are most important to you; make sure you keep your eyes on them at all times, even at a place you think is totally safe.
Supervise them and their use of the equipment. Communicate with them. Ensure they are always within eyesight and then be sure you give them your full attention. Knowing where they are and whether they are using age-appropriate equipment are other important steps to take.
Be sure you teach them how to use the equipment properly and encourage them to be respectful of other children on the playground. Make certain they are dressed appropriately for the weather, adequately hydrated, and protected from the sun. Make simple rules for them to follow.
Checking The Equipment
Playground equipment, like anything else that is outside, can degrade due to weather conditions, age, or simple use. So before the kids go to the playground, check it out yourself or make sure someone else has done so.
See if there are any loose or broken pieces or parts; check the connections on chains and swing sets; and look for rough edges on metal or wooden structures that could cut or cause splinters and/or any rusted or moldy areas.
Evaluating The Landing Gear
No matter how careful they are, your child will probably fall down eventually. Trying to prevent that occurrence from ever happening is probably an impossible goal.
However, trying to minimize the harm when it does happen is a great idea. What material is there underneath the equipment? Concrete, asphalt, rocks, and other hard solid materials are poor substances to use while sand, mulch, rubber materials, and pea gravel are safer and create a softer landing pad.
Anywhere that equipment connects with the ground can become a weak point. Make sure that all the connections are solid and secure. If any equipment seems wobbly or unsecured, be sure your child stays away from that area and let other parents know as well.
Whether the playground in question is public or private, parents can and should alert the owners, responsible agencies, or school of any problems they identify so the owner can make necessary repairs.
Keeping kids safe is a goal for all parents, caregivers, and the community as a whole. Investing in safe playgrounds benefits everyone and keeping tabs on the condition of play structures simply makes good sense. Do not wait until something happens to take the issue seriously.
If your child was injured on a dangerous playground, legal help is available. Schedule a free consultation with a premises liability attorney at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz to discuss your options.
Contact Jason today at 404-474-0804.