Public Playground Safety Checklist For Kids

4 min read

By Dr. Chetan Ginigiri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER), Fellowship PICU (Kings College London)
Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital
17 years of experience

Summer vacation is around the corner. Most of the parks and playgrounds will be swarmed with children during these evenings. Doubtlessly we can say the playgrounds and outdoor playing equipment not only fresh air and friends, but it also makes them physically active.
The most amazing memories of childhood come from the playground. But don’t let those good memories turn into bad experiences. Defective play equipment, an irregular surface, and even a careless behavior are more than enough to mess up the fun.
In this article, we will help you to ensure the safety of your child while playing in the playground. So here are the points you need to mark upon your checklist before sending your children to play in the playground. Remember, if your child knows the “playground rules,” that its self will bring down the chances of them getting hurt.
Playground safety can be classified into a few areas which need to be taken care of. They are playground design, play equipment, maintenance and inspection, and the child, most importantly, adult supervision.
A well-designed playground itself makes it the safest playground to a great extends.

kids playing

What Is A Well Designed Playground?

Usually, playground equipment is designed for three different age groups: infants and toddlers, preschoolers, and school going kids. In a well-designed playground, the play area for these three groups will be separated distinctly, and the play equipment will be positioned well spaced. Elder kids are not allowed to play on equipment designed for younger ones and vice versa.  Here are some propositions of a well-designed playground:

  • Space any structure more than 30 inches high at least 9 feet apart
  • Limit the no: of swings to a maximum of two per bay.
  • Make sure that the head, hand, or any other body part of your child does not get trapped in tight spaces.
  • Separate swings, seesaws, and anything else with moving parts from the rest of the playground.

Supervise Kids Using The Right Playground Equipment:

Nothing is better than supervising your child while playing. As we know, only parents know what is good and bad for their child. So, it is their responsibility to take care of their kids when they are out playing in the ground.
Top Reasons Why Kids Need Supervision Are:

  • Kids always need adult supervision while playing. So, adult supervision is the key to prevent your child from painful injuries. In case of injury occurs, if an adult is near the child, he can help him out in getting the best first aid treatment.
  • No doubt young ones need it more than the grown one. Young kids are new to the world of the playground and don’t know how to use variable pieces of equipment in the playground. So, it becomes the duty of the elderly to teach their child the right technique to use the playground equipment, ensuring that they are harmless for your child.

Therefore, whenever you visit a playground with your child makes it sure that the play area is designed in such a manner that allows you to supervise your child from every angle.

Choose The Right Play Area Based On Your Child’s Age:

Everything looks better when it is according to your age. The same is the criteria to choose a playground for your child. The right play area not only ensures the safety of your child but also helps your child to get mates of a similar age group. Here are some safety tips:

  • If your child is a toddler and is learning to walk properly or is trying to learn to ride his walker, it is sure he will fall several times while learning it. For him, the grass surface play area with smooth and soft soil is a better option than that hard surface concrete walking area.
  • If they are using baby swings and playing equipment, make sure the ground is well matted with cushioned rubber.
  • Elderly children use playgrounds to play outdoor games like cricket, soccer, and volleyball, etc. but on the other hand, little ones use it to enjoy the outer world. So make sure that your child is playing in the right place.
  • The safest play area is the one which is divided on the basis of the age group of the children. So make it sure to choose such an area for your growing one.

Ensure Safe Surfacing Beneath And Surrounding Playground Equipment:

The proper surfacing is the most important factor while you are evaluating the safety of your child in the playground. A safe surface is key to prevent injuries that can occur while falling from the playground equipment. Surface, therefore, should be soft and thick enough to lessen the impact of a child fall on the ground.  Here are some of the points to be considered while choosing the best play surface for your child:

  • Blacktop, concrete, and asphalt-based surfaces are unsafe and unacceptable.
  • The Surface should be free of debris and standing water.
  • There should be no harmful material on the surface like twisted metal pieces and broken glass.
  • Surfaces that are covered with safety mats are best for your child.
  • Surfaces made of Chromate Copper Arsenate or CCA are not recommendable since they are potentially hazardous to your child’s health.
  • Rubber mats are known to be best for toddlers.

Note: Even proper surfacing is not 100% helpful in preventing injuries. So it becomes the duty of parents to teach their child guidelines for safety in the playground.

Check That Playgrounds Are Inspected And Maintained By Qualified Personnel:

Whether your child is playing at home or a public playground, you need to ensure that all the types of equipment are well-maintained and hygienic for your child. Given below are some of the essential points that ensure the proper maintenance and inspection of the playground:

  • No equipment in the playground should be broken
  • Wooden equipment is not cracked or splintered.
  • Metal equipment are well painted and not rusted
  • The Playground’s surface material is maintained on a regular basis.
  • Playground materials are durable and can tolerate the weight of your child.
  • Fencing is in the right place and does not come in the path of your child while playing.

Some Final Words
All these points are quite effective in protecting your child from playground injuries. But other than that, it becomes the moral duty of parents to teach their child about playground safety. No doubt, adult supervision, and playground safety are extremely important, but the child must know to act responsibly and play safely in the playground. So make it sure to teach your child the playground safety rules and let them enjoy their childhood at its peak.

Dr. Chetan Ginigiri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER), Fellowship PICU (Kings College London)
Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital
17 years of experience

Dr Chetan Ginigeri is an experienced Pediatric Intensivist with national and international training. With 15 years of experience, he is one among very few Intensivists in India trained to take care of children who need/had organ transplants. He has been responsible for coordinating the Pediatric Organ Transplant program.Read more.

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