Summertime means sunshine, starlit nights, and chasing fireflies. It also means spending more time at the playground. Check out our top ten summer playground safety tips before you head out to be sure your playground adventures are injury free. Or take along our Safety Checklist to assess the safety of your playground while onsite. You can even have the kids help using the NPPS Kid Checker program. Enjoy the summer season, but remember to stay S.A.F.E.
1. Adult supervision is present
Adult presence is needed to watch for potential hazards, observe, intercede and facilitate play when necessary.
2. All children play on age-appropriate equipment
Preschoolers (ages 2 – 5) and school-age children (ages 5 – 12) are developmentally different and need different equipment located in separate areas to keep the playground safe and fun for all.
3. Appropriate fall surfacing material is present
Nearly 70 percent of all playground injuries are related to children falling to the ground. Acceptable surfaces include wood fiber or mulch, pea gravel, sand, poured-in-place rubber, rubber mats or rubber tiles. Playground surfaces should not be concrete, asphalt, grass, blacktop, packed dirt or rocks.
4. Equipment is safe
Check to make sure the equipment is anchored safely in the ground, all equipment pieces are in good working order, S-hooks are entirely closed, bolts are not protruding, and there are no exposed footings. Equipment should be free of rust, splinters, and missing parts.
5. No strings or ropes are present
Strings on clothing or ropes used for play can cause accidental strangulation if caught on equipment. Ropes used as part of playground equipment should be secured on both ends.
6. Equipment is not too hot
Check for hot surfaces on playground equipment before allowing children to play on it. If shade structures do not protect the equipment from the sun, the surface can become extremely hot and can even cause burns on the skin.
7. No bicycle helmets are worn on the equipment
Children should not wear bike helmets when playing on playground equipment. They can easily get caught and may cause strangulation.
8. Children wear appropriate clothing
NPPS strongly encourages children to wear closed shoes and appropriate clothing.
9. Children are protected from the sun
Encourage the use of UVA and UVB protective clothing and sunglasses, suggest playing in shaded areas, and, of course, always use sunscreen.
10. Children are protected from extreme temperatures
A heat index at or above 90˚F may pose a health risk to children. Be watchful of the temperature while outdoors and keep children well hydrated.