In this parenting tips video learn how to minimize the risk of playground equipment with your children.
Tags:Child Playground Safety,healthsciencechannel,parenting tips,play safety,playground equipment safety,playground safety tips,safe tips for playground equipment,safety tips for playground
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Host: Playgrounds and kids it’s a great photo op.
Host: To keep your child smiling. Make sure the playground does not put your child in danger. Who better to lead us on a safety tour than a pediatrician who’s sending his own daughter Emma off into the wild world of swing sets? First stop: the ground! Look for soft surfaces.
Paul Horowitz: There are lots of different kinds of surfaces that people have their play equipment on. Some people have their play equipment on grasses, but the safer surfaces include things like sand, which we’re on today and wood chips. The sand really ought to be at least about ten inches deep in order to reduce the risk of injury from falls. Wood chips need to be at least twelve inches deep.
Host: Whether it’s wood chips or sand, surfaces should be raked weekly to keep them soft. Why are surfaces so important?
Paul Horowitz: There are a quarter of a million injuries per year on playgrounds and playground equipment in this country alone that result in trips to the emergency room. Three quarters of those injuries are falls. Even a fall from one foot above asphalt can lead to a fatal head injury. Or grass, which a lot of people put their equipment on a fall from only four feet above grass, can lead to a fatal head injury as well.
Host: The monkey bars are the biggest culprits. Make sure these areas are well padded. Many families have swings on grass. Better option to install a softer surface. When setting up a swing set, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly. All equipment should be anchored properly. Swing sets should be installed at least six feet from walls or fences. Playground swings should be clear of other equipment by a distance equal to twice the height of the swing. And equipment should be free of objects that could scrape, pinch or trap a child.
Paul Horowitz: This is a full harness or bucket type swing that children under five years old are meant to use. This is quite safe. There’s really nowhere for Emma here to fall or slip through, she’s very secure, and as you can see she’s having a great time.
Host: Next stop, one of the all time favorite, the slide.
Host: Here position and enclosure are important.
Paul Horowitz: It should have at least a four-inch high rail along the edges and ideally it shouldn’t be facing afternoon sunlight because of the risk of burn injuries on metal slides.
Host: The platform should be no more than eight feet from the ground. Vertical and horizontal spaces anywhere on the playground should be either less then three-and-a-half inches wide or more than nine inches wide so that children cannot trap their heads in the equipment. When it comes to getting trapped, even a child’s clothing can be dangerous. When dressing a child for the playground at all costs avoid drawstrings. These are common on jackets, but they can strangle a child if they get caught on equipment. For the same reasons, avoid loose clothing. Closed-toed shoes protect the feet better. And be sure to bring sunscreen and apply often. Even with safety measures, there may be injuries, so watch your child closely.