National Playground Safety Week this week, April 23rd to the 27th, is a time to practice safe play! The National Program for Playground Safety or NPPS, who sponsors National Playground Safety Week, encourages you to use the S.A.F.E acronym when playing at your favorite park:
1. Provide proper Supervision of children on playgrounds: The number one thing you can do to ensure safety is make sure your children are supervised while playing. Pay attention and keep your eyes open and your ears alert. Make sure they’re following the park’s playground rules as well as ones that you’ve set as a family. Never leave children unattended!
2. Design Age-appropriate playgrounds: Playgrounds should be designed with the user in mind. For example, keeping them away from major roads or highways is a must to ensure safety. Things like metal that could be exposed for long time periods to sun should be avoided. Playgrounds with springy equipment or chains that children could get their fingers caught in should be appropriately constructed. If it’s a neighborhood with a large toddler population, swings with proper restraints should be installed. Small things in the design can keep our children safe!
3. Provide proper Fall surfacing under and around playgrounds: According to NPPS, 70% of all playground injuries are related to falls for equipment! Cushioned material like sand or rubber mats create a safeguard in case of falls. Beware of ropes and swings that are easy to fall off of as well as high equipment. Make sure your children don’t try to climb anything that isn’t meant to be climbed like the outside of the slide and always encourage the use of equipment stairs.
4. Properly maintain playground Equipment: Be aware of anything that you see that may need attention. Be on the lookout for loose bolts, exposed sharp edges, frayed ropes or anything unsafe in general and contact the facility managers of the playground or park.
Remembering the S.A.F.E acronym is an easy way to make sure you’re staying safe on play equipment to provide an even more fun time for all! Remember, National Playground Safety Week is April 23rd to the 27th so use that week as a time to create a playground safety plan as a family and to practice and implement these rules!