A playground is designed to provide an environment for children that facilitates play, typically outdoors. It is a great spot for children to get activities and have fun.
Playgrounds are essential for the development of children’s physical, social, and emotional well-being. They provide a place where children can play together with their peers as well as gain physical activity that’s why are playgrounds so important for children.
While it is true that children might get minor scrapes and bruises on and off the playground, it is sad to see them sustain some major injuries in a spot that should be safe and hazard-free for them.
Let us look into some hazards in the playground and then see how to avoid these hazards.
Common Hazards in The Playground
- Falls: Kids are still developing balancing skills, and as such, they are prone to falling. One way to protect children from falls is to follow safe use zones. Each playground equipment has a use zone, which gives a specific fall height. Another way is to have a playground soft floor, therefore even if a fall happens, the soft floor would deter them from sustaining injuries. It is essential to know these safety precautions and follow them.
- Entrapment: Strangulation due to head/neck entrapment after a foot’s first entry into an element is the number three cause of death on playgrounds. All openings slide on the playground must be tested to admit both feet and the head. No slide openings should measure between 3 ½ inches and 9 inches on any structures.
- Crush & Shear Hazards: These injuries can occur at the juncture between two or more playground elements that have movements parallel to each other and lack the recommended clearance between the parts. Hence, it is crucial to have your playground inspected by a trained professional who will notice these hazards.
- Protrusions: A protrusion hazard occurs when a rigid projection extends beyond the recommended ASTM standard, measured by placing three projection test gauges over the protruding bolt, fastener, step, or handle.
- Trip Hazards: These occur when there are deep pits/cracks in the degraded surfacing. Also, exposure to cracked sidewalks, wood, concrete, ripped ground covers, and broken pieces of equipment can all become trip hazards.
- Improper Playground Surface: Rocks, grass, gravel, cement, asphalt, untested carpet, brick, and stone are all highly inappropriate and unsuitable playground ground surface covers. None of these surfaces helps protect a child’s skin or limbs if they fall. On the other hand, a soft playground floor can protect children’s skin even when they fall and thus is the safest flooring you can install in your playground.
- Lack Of Adult Supervision: Accidents often happen on the safest playgrounds because of a direct lack of adult supervision. As an adult, it’s your job always to be aware of what the children you care for are doing. Children don’t always know which equipment is age-appropriate, and sometimes they choose to ignore the signs.
How Can You Prevent Playground Hazards
To ensure that the playground is safety friendly for children, here are what you should do.
Separate different playground sections by age: Children of different ages have different abilities. Create a sign or a label on the playground indicating the appropriate age group for which the equipment is appropriate.
Separate activities: A safe playground should be large enough to give adequate space between each piece of equipment. If there is a cluster of activities in one area, this could cause injury.
Eliminate any obstruction from the supervisor’s view: Kids need supervision at all times. Make sure to get an attentive supervisor, and all playground parts should be visible.
Regular Inspection: Check the playgrounds where your children play on a regular basis. This will help you notice any faulty equipment before they can cause harm to kids.
Ensure that the facilities are up to date: Playground standards change over time. Some of your equipment might not be updated to the current standard. Always ensure the playground equipment meets the current standard in the country.