Most school-related injuries for children ages 5 to 14 happen on the playground. As schools across the country close for the summer, kids have more time to play – and more time to get injured.
Safe Kids Oregon has tips for parents and caregivers to help children stay safe on the playground.
- Avoid playgrounds with asphalt, concrete, grass or dirt surfaces under the equipment. 90% of the most severe playground equipment-related injuries, typically head injuries and fractures, are from falls. A fall onto a shock-absorbing surface – like sand, pea gravel, wood chips, mulch or shredded rubber – is less likely to cause a serious injury.
- For a child under age 5, there should be a separate play area. Young children who play on equipment designed for older kids have an increased risk of injury.
- Always supervise children using playground equipment. Stay where you can see and hear them. Lack of supervision is associated with 40% of playground injuries. Of course, parental presence can't prevent every injury – see A Surprising Risk for Toddlers on Playground Slides.
- Teach children proper playground behavior: no pushing, shoving or crowding.
- Remove any hood and neck drawstrings from all children's clothing. Strangulation accounts for nearly half of all playground equipment-related deaths.