Playing is fun, but it can also be dangerous. It’s important to use a few rules and common sense when your children are playing to ensure they stay safe as possible. There are issues that can happen in a split second that you may not have foreseen.
Playground toys and playground equipment can be dangerous without you even realizing it. There are safety regulations in place, but sometimes a toy or a piece of equipment is old and was made before a new regulation was put into place. Even in the best circumstances, using a little common sense can go a long way.
Ensure that the toys your child is using meets the right age requirement. Those age restrictions are in place to help prevent strangulation, choking and other issues. For instance, a puzzle meant for a six-year-old, might be able to be put together by a 3-year-old, but they probably shouldn’t because the pieces might be choking hazards. If a toy fits in a child’s mouth all the way, they probably shouldn’t play with it unless you’re directly supervising them. And even then, if they are younger than 3 or 4, they shouldn’t play with it at all.
Ensure that the playground that you choose for your child to play on is up to date and safe. No sharp edges, soft ground to fall on, and updated safer play areas and equipment to help keep injuries to a minimum – such as netting for climbing that doesn’t allow your child’s head to fit through it. The highest any toy should be from the ground, no matter how soft the surface, is 12 feet.
The biggest protection for children is to have adult supervision at the playground. Children think they’re safe at a playground and will test their limits there. Having a parent or adult supervision is your best source of protection. It doesn’t matter how old the child is, if he’s old enough to play at a playground he needs adult supervision.
Pedestrians and Strangers
Teach children not to talk to strangers at the playground other than a polite “yes ma’am” or “yes sir” to other children’s parents or while you are standing right there. A stranger who wants to play with or talk to your child, who has no other children or who was a random pedestrian, should be avoided.
Children can be selfish on the playground. Teach children to play and take turns without pushing, shoving or grabbing. It can be difficult to teach children to wait their turn, or deal with bullies, but with you being right there to intervene and help, they’ll be that much safer and less likely to get injured.
Finally, do a check of the playground each time you take your children to play. Check for broken glass, metal or other sharp objects. Check for holes that running children could fall in, or protrusions that can be tripped over. Doing a quick inspection each time your children want to play can prevent accidents.
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