My 4-year-old son came back from the playground with a cut on his forehead. He had decided to leap off the swing while in mid-air. After the initial wail, he was off again on some dangerous moves. Every parent worry about the safety of their child. I was tempted to shield him, put in a safety bubble to protect him from every possible danger/injury. But the more objective part of my mind knows that is not the best solution. In the end as parents, we should try and keep their environment safe but more importantly, we need to give them more independence and teach them how to keep themselves safe.
Playgrounds are places where pre-schoolers are physically active – they run, jump, play, etc. This means a lot can happen. The Centre for Disease Control estimates that 45% of all injuries from playgrounds are severe, including fractures, internal injuries, concussions, and dislocations. Accidents do happen. But there’s a lot you can do to prevent them.
So, here are a few tips to keep your pre-schooler safe at the playground
1. Ensure the playground and equipment are age appropriate
2. Check your child’s clothing. Make sure there are no drawstrings or other cords, which can get trapped in equipment.
3. Before you let your kids step foot on the playground, be sure to lay out some ground rules. Also, the consequences of breaking the rules
4. Encourage good manners, sharing and taking turns. No shoving, pushing and leaving things on the way where someone can trip over them.
5. Avoid playgrounds with lots of concrete. Soft surfaces absorb and cushion their fall
6. Before letting your child use the equipment/playground, do a quick check for broken equipment, missing bolts, unstable surfaces and other dangerous items like broken glass, etc
7. Ensure platforms have railings to prevent falls
8. During hot weather, always check the surface of slides and swings to prevent burns
9. Never leave your child unsupervised. An adult should always be present to watch and supervise children younger than 5 years old.
10. Make sure that your child uses the equipment safely and correctly.
Children are always thrilled to hit the playground. Even in this age of tablets, smartphones, and toys, the happiness on a child’s face on the playground is incomparable. But let’s also remember they can be dangerous as well. Keep your eyes on your kids and set the rules in advance, to ensure each visit to a playground is a safe and fun one.
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