Get Out & Play at the Park Safely!

When you live in the city, there is really no better place to Get Out & Play with kids than the park. Not only is there open space to run, ride bikes and play ball or tag, but there are the structures for kids to climb, slide, swing and balance.

However, there are some hidden (and some very obvious) dangers that every adult should be aware of when at the park with a young child. A study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that, in one year, more than 200,000 playground equipment-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms. Nearly 76 percent of those injuries were from equipment designed for public use.

Keep these in mind while you Get Out & Play.

SLIDES

There is a common leg fracture that young children get when riding down a slide with an adult. The Wall Street Journal recently reported about a New York hospital’s study that found nearly 14 percent of children’s leg fractures in an 11-month period involved toddlers riding down the slide with a parent.

Here, an orthopaedic surgeon from Maryland discusses in a short video exactly how these fractures happen:

Sliding Board Fracture Prevention

PLAY SURFACE

Under the play equipment should be a soft landing surface that extends out from the equipment in every direction. Look for wood or rubber chips, rubber mats or sand under the structures. Avoid structures with rocks, gravel or pavement underneath. Where a child lands after a fall can mean the difference between serious and minor injuries, as 79 percent of the injuries on public equipment recorded by the Commission involved falls to the ground below the equipment.

AGE-APPROPRIATE STRUCTURES

Just as kids older than 5 should not be playing in areas for toddlers and preschoolers, it is not appropriate for young children to be on structures meant for the older kids. Look for parks that have separate play areas for children younger than 5. The Commission also recommends that young children avoid free-standing arch climbs, free-standing flexible climbers, chain and cable walks, seesaws, log rolls and vertical sliding poles.

The National Playground Safety Institute has compiled a list of common playground hazards, which it calls The Dirty Dozen, in a short, downloadable pamphlet you can get here

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