Playgrounds are wonderful places for children to be active and test their physical and social skills. Playgrounds can help kids learn to take calculated risks—an important life skill. Of course, used incorrectly, a playground can also come with risks. Falls at the playground are the #1 cause of injury to children between the ages of 5 and 9. Here’s how to help your child be safe.
Make sure your child is the right age for the playground equipment. In Canada, all public playgrounds have the age posted on a sign. Children under 5 should play on equipment under 5 feet high (1.5 m). If they cannot reach the play equipment on their own, it’s too big for them.
Use playgrounds that have a wood chip, pebble, or rubber ground surfacing. These surfaces absorb impact better than pavement or grass.
Check that the playground equipment is in good repair, with no obvious broken parts. Look around the ground to make sure there is no broken glass or other sharp objects nearby.
Remove loose clothing or anything that could become a strangulation hazard on the play equipment (e.g. scarves or drawstrings).
Have fun with your child as you enjoy outdoor play together! Keep a close eye on your child, and make sure that they’re following playground rules (e.g. taking turns on equipment, keeping clear of the swings).
These two videos demonstrate a few key safety tips that will help your children have a safe experience at the playground.