Each year, thousands of children are injured while playing on public playgrounds, including the playground areas of child care facilities, educational institutions, apartment or condo buildings, parks, restaurants, resorts, and other areas of public use. It’s estimated that 75% of all injuries occur when children fall to the surface below.
Here are some simple steps school officials and parents can take to help reduce the likelihood of playground injuries.
- As you approach the playground, look for a posted sign that states the age group that the equipment was designed for. It should indicate design appropriateness for ages 2-5 or ages 5-12. Encourage children to use the proper equipment.
- Look at the surfacing materials on the ground below the equipment. Look for anything that doesn’t belong there like bottles, cans or other debris.
- Look for tripping hazards such as loose felt, low pieces of equipment like a balance beam, tree roots or anything else that might cause a fall.
- Make sure the slide bed is free of debris or sharp points and if it is metal feel it first to make sure it is not too hot.
- Lookout for spots where a child can get stuck like between steps, below guardrails or in small openings on metal climbers.
- Instruct the children not to walk in front of or behind swings or other moving equipment.
- Always keep children in your line of sight. Tube slides and enclosed wooden structures are areas where a child can get hurt without being noticed right away.
- Never leave children unattended at the playground. Talking with friends or reading the newspaper are not nearly as important as a child’s safety. If a child’s hood string gets hung up on a protruding screw or bolt and they start to choke it will only take seconds for them to lose consciousness and two to three minutes for them to suffer brain damage.
- Avoid the playground equipment if it has been raining or if the early morning dew is still present. Slippery equipment is the cause of many falls and subsequent injuries.
- Never allow a child to use the playground equipment while wearing a helmet. These provide good protection while skating, boarding, or riding a bicycle but can easily lead to strangulation or entrapment on playground equipment.
- Do not allow children to take toys such as canteens, hula-hoops, backpacks, etc. onto play equipment. These things can easily get caught on something and lead to a child getting hurt and if they are left on the equipment, they could cause someone else to trip over them.
For more tips watch our video “Tips for Keeping Your School Playground Safe” below:
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NOTICE: This information is provided solely as an insurance risk management tool. It is provided with the understanding that the member insurance companies of the Utica National Insurance Group ("Utica National") are not providing legal advice, or any other professional services or advice. Utica National shall have no liability to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damages alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the use of this information. You are encouraged to consult an attorney or other professional for advice on these issues.