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Friday, December 3, 2010


Keep Kids Safe on Outdoor Playground Equipment

Regular maintenance and supervision help keep kids safe when playing outside.

As a parent one of the most important things to consider is your child's safety.  Most parents, particularly first time parents express a feeling of anxiety and ambivalence regarding what is the best way to keep their children safe while still affording them the freedom necessary to make their own decisions and explore the world for themselves.   There is often a tendency among parents to ?ver parent While these feelings come from a place of love and concern, parents who are too overprotective are often robbing their children of the valuable experiences in problem solving and conflict resolution that are so critical to child development.  One of the most important tasks that every parent must undertake is the ability to protect and educate while still allowing their children to grow and develop as independent individuals. 

Fortunately, when children are very young there is less of a struggle in this area.  All young children need a lot of protection from a world that they do not understand or yet know how to navigate.  Children's physical safety is of paramount concern in these early years, and it is very likely that on all counts they will fall, sustain minor injuries and cuts, in the name of learning.  These are not tremendous issues; they happen to all children the world over and are instrumental in teaching them when they are running too fast, climbing too high or doing other things that they shouldn't.

But what can parents do to really ensure their children's physical safety? If you are creating a play space for your child in your backyard, there are many safety precautions that you need to consider. 

·         Age. Home playground equipment is generally suitable for children from 18 months to about 12 years of age at most. 
·         Material. When installing such playground equipment, be sure that you are installing the materials over an impact-absorbing materials such as sod or earth. Hard materials like concrete, asphalt or stone are inappropriate for children to safely play on.
·         Sun. When you are installing equipment made of metal be mindful of the sun.  Metal equipment can get very hot when exposed to the sun and placing a slide, monkey bars or other metal accessories in a sunny place can cause a child to burn herself at worst, or at the very least to avoid using this piece of equipment.
·         Avoiding Danger. Be sure that you are keeping a regular eye on the equipment your children are playing on and constantly checking to be sure that screws are tight, materials are solid and your swing set's connection to the ground is sturdy. 
·         Damage. It can be difficult to avoid the damage that naturally comes to outdoor playground equipment. Sun, rain, sleet and heavy winds can damage materials as the years go by.  Regular checkups and maintenance ensure that you avoid overlooking a piece of damaged equipment that could potentially harm a child. If there are ropes, nets or climbing ladders, you must be sure that they are fully and firmly anchored to the ground and tightly bound to any of the other pieces of equipment that they connect to. 
·         Dry. Be sure that after a rain or snow storm, all equipment is thoroughly dry before your children decide to play on it. Slippery metal bars can pose a serious safety hazard for children of all ages. 

My last piece of advice: playground play should always be supervised by an adult.  Even the most well constructed pieces of playground equipment are not completely flawless and children have a tendency to get rambunctious and over excited when they are playing outside and any too-fast running, too-high swinging or other extreme behaviors can result in injury. It is always best to be sure that you are around to make sure that your kids are playing safe.

Do you have any other tips that I’ve forgotten to mention? Feel free to add them, in the comments below.

About the Author
Andy is a writer on a variety of topics from child playground safety to swing set accessories reviews. She has a 4 year old daughter who inspired this post after asking, ‘can we have a playground at home’.


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November 21, 2011 at 10:16 PM delete

Very nice article! Safety is the very important thing to keep in mind while putting playground equipment. I have recently placed two Swing sets at my backyard for my kids and I am working on their safety play.. This article helped me a lot. Thanks.