Each year from 2001 to 2008, over 200,000 children in the U.S. received emergency care for injuries sustained on playgrounds. The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) has designated April 25-29, 2016 as National Playground Safety Week. This week is an excellent time to teach your child how to recognize hazards on the playground and start a local campaign to fix up dangerous play areas in your neighborhood.
Creating S.A.F.E. Playgrounds
The NPPS has developed a program to assess the safety of playgrounds called S.A.F.E. Factors. These factors are:
• SUPERVISING children on playgrounds
• Making sure playgrounds are AGE-APPROPRIATE
• Ensuring the FALL SURFACING under and around playgrounds is adequate
• Maintaining the condition of playground EQUIPMENT
Supervision is one of the simplest ways parents can prevent playground injuries. Even if other parents are around to watch their own children, do not think that they will be able and willing to step in and stop your child from sustaining an injury. Always keep an eye on your own children and alert other parents if you notice any hazards.
Age-appropriate play equipment means softer, low to the ground pieces for toddlers and more challenging features for older children with better coordination. Some playgrounds are mixed-age with areas for younger and older children. It is important to make sure that your child stays in the area appropriate for his age to prevent him injuring himself or accidentally hurting another child.
Fall surfacing comes in many types. Most playgrounds are set on a bed of sand, soft mulch, or rubber mats made from recycled tires. Concrete should never be a platform for a playground unless it has a cushioning over the slab.
A professional with proper tools should be the only individual performing playground maintenance. Never allow your children to use swings that have mixed materials for chains and be sure to avoid slides and stairs that are patched with inadequate materials like duct tape.
Do not attempt to repair a public playground on your own, notify the area maintenance supervisor of any damages and do not use the playground until a professional has made the repairs.
How You Can Make Your Local Playgrounds S.A.F.E.
To help parents and caretakers assess the safety of playgrounds near them, the NPPS has created a Safety Report Card. This checklist and fact sheet will help you “grade” your local playground to see if it meets the S.A.F.E. standards. After grading your local playgrounds, get together with other parents and start a letter writing campaign to your local parks and recreation department to ask them to address your findings.
Help raise awareness of National Playground Safety Week and the S.A.F.E. program by hanging posters at your local playground. You can also work with other parents to write to your governor asking that he or she make a proclamation about Safety Week.
Bressman Law Supports Safe Playgrounds in Ohio
The legal team at Bressman Law helps parents protect their legal rights after their child has suffered an injury on a dangerous playground. If you need help filing a legal case on behalf of an injured child, contact Bressman Law to schedule a FREE consultation regarding your right to injury compensation for your child: 877-538-1116.