Since the summertime is quickly approaching and the school year will be coming to an end, this is the busiest times of the year for children to occupy public playgrounds. However, experts warn parents and caregivers of hazards and risks with public playgrounds contributing to over 200,000 ER injuries annually for children.
All playground areas present safety risks for the children and should be inspected to prior use. Since children use the equipment in unanticipated and unintentional ways proper inspection by those watching young children should always be done before play is administered.
Caregivers should be instructed that the most common playground hazard is falling so playground floors should be taken into consideration. Those with small children need to be aware of outdated flooring such as concrete, asphalt, or dirt surfaces that should be avoided. Instead, look for new playground floors that consist of shock absorbing material such as rubber mats, engineered wood fibers, or rubber tile. Facilities with these bases are more up-to-date and modern so there is a better chance they were recently inspected. The CPSC also recommends the following instructions:
Children should not wear hooded clothing while playing on outside equipment.
Playgrounds should be designed so parents and caregivers can keep track of children at all times while they move throughout the equipment. There should be no obstructions on the site where children can go unattended.
Other open areas should also be inspected by the parent or caregiver before the child is admitted to play. Areas with an opening can cause children to become trapped or could expose a child to an electrical pole or outlet. Guardrails are also a must when elevated platforms are created throughout the play area.
During an inspection, if hazards and safety risks are found please notify the proper owner or authorities so the hazard may be replaced accordingly.
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