- Feb 13, 2018
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A long time ago, all playgrounds were produced of metal implanted into the ground with only grass or dirt around it. The dangers of slides were the fact that, on a hot, sunny day, the slides would burn a child’s skin where there was no protection along the arms and legs. With the spinning wheel, they were produced to go too fast with no grip in holding on, and monkey bars were either too high off the ground or have hardened earth under. Despite upgrades in playground safety, statistics reveal that there are on average 200,000 children ages 14 and younger who are hospitalized for playground-related injuries each year. Parents still need to understand the risks a playground may have and find solutions to prevent injuries.
Besides constantly watching their children, playgrounds should be checked for any hazards, such as rusted or broken playground parts and unsafe surfaces. Parents should teach their children on the basics of good behavior and that they must not push or shove another child, or crowd on a raised platform. Kids must also dress right and not have anything that could be dangerous on that could lead to accidental strangulation around their necks of limbs. This is really more important for older children as there should be areas for those age 5 and under.
The issue of surfacing is as key as the playground equipment that stands up. Years ago, a report firmly stated that all safe playing surfaces must be sturdy, have good drainage, clean, non-abrasive, firm, smooth, and of good appearance. The specifics established the minimum in terms of suitable playground surfacing must be when installing playgrounds, as well accommodating people with disabilities. There should be tests done to determine if it pasts the guideline on all requirements for safety. This same goes for loose-fill rubber mulch around for a safe landing ground with children.
Playground design is also important because of multiple factors. Besides the material used to construct the playground, such as avoiding the use of glass or large metal pieces, The spacing between the side bars when in the air should be close, the height of the fire pole and slide should not exceed a certain height, and there should be 8 to 12 inches of safe surfacing under where the feet will land. The swings should not be allowed to fly to a certain height and the speed for a spinner should be constricted to not go too fast.
The bottom line is that playground safety matters. Nothing is certain even with all the new requirements and safety pieces in terms of building playgrounds. This should be childproof and made to prevent injuries, which is all too common even today. The goal is to cut the average down to under 100,000 injuries and lower because it is impossible to make everything safe and to keep all children protected. But safe playgrounds plus supervision of the children make things easier. Simply check on the equipment and surface and things will be fine for everyone involved.