Outdoor play is essential for the overall development of your child, and public playgrounds provide the space and environment for young children to explore and enjoy the outdoors.
Nevertheless, there are certain dangers that every parent should be aware of when choosing and using a public playground. Let us look at what they are.
1.Hard or uneven surfaces
Check for proper surfacing and use of good quality cushioning material that will allow safe landing if a child falls. Fall zones around different playground equipment should extend out from the equipment in all directions to protect children from injury.
2. Age-appropriate playground equipment
Playground equipment usually has different levels for children of different ages. It is important to ensure that children use equipment that is appropriate for their physical size.
Make sure your child stays away from equipment meant for older children to keep them out of danger.
3. Old and faulty equipment
Before your children use the playground, do a thorough check-up to ensure the apparatus is up-to-date. Look out for rust, broken or missing parts and splintered or sharp edges that can cause accidents or cuts.
Avoid equipment made with metal or wood. Heavy swings and free-swinging ropes are also unsafe.
4. Gaps and nets that can cause strangulation
Check the spacing between guard rails and on climbing and safety nets to determine if they pose strangulation risks. Gaps should either be less than three inches or greater than nine inches to be safe.
5. Quality and maintenance of equipment
Playing equipment should be regularly inspected, and timely maintenance carried out. There should be no visible damaged parts. Faulty equipment should be reported and made off-limits.
6. Cleanliness of playground and vicinity
The playing area should be free from garbage and animal droppings. There should be protective barriers to keep animals out at night and no standing water in the vicinity.
7. Lead paint and arsenic in wood
Poisonous chemicals like lead and arsenic may be present in older equipment. Check whether testing for lead exposure has been done if you observe peeling paint.
Avoid such playgrounds or at least ensure your child doesn’t eat there if there is no other option.
8. Using equipment safely
Adult supervision is necessary even on safe playground equipment. Children should use it as intended and be aware of safe and unsafe practices for all of them.
Intervene if they become too adventurous actions, or they may get hurt.