Falls are the most common type of playground injury, accounting for more than 75 percent of all playground-related injuries, according to Jennifer Hoekstra, an injury prevention specialist.
Lack of supervision is associated with approximately 45 percent of playground-related injuries.
Check out some helpful advice from the Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention team for keeping your kiddos safe at play.
7 tips to avoid playground injuries:
- Actively supervise children on playgrounds. It won’t be hard—they’ll probably be calling for you to watch them climb, jump and swing.
- Take your kids to playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces such as rubber, synthetic turf, sand, pea gravel, wood chips or mulch. If your child falls, the landing will be more cushioned than on asphalt, concrete, grass or dirt.
- Dress appropriately for the playground. Remove necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard. Even helmets can be dangerous on a playground, so save those for bikes.
- Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous.
- Little kids play differently than big kids, so it’s important to have a separate play area for kids younger than 5.
- Check playgrounds for hazards such as rusted or broken equipment and dangerous surfaces—report hazards to the school or local office.
- For swings, make sure the surfacing extends in the back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar. (If the swing set is 10 feet high, the surfacing should extend 20 feet.)