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Playground Safety Week 2014

Playgrounds provide children with a great opportunity for exercise, social interaction, and fun. Because children require at least 60 minutes of activity per day, it’s important to ensure these play-friendly spaces are safe.

Each year, 76% of child injuries occur on public playgrounds. Luckily, most of these are preventable with basic supervision and safety habits in place. These playground safety tips enable us to focus on maintaining a healthy environment for children while preventing playground injuries and falls.

Here are ways to get involved:

  1. Remove any loose items that could get caught on playground equipment or pose a choking hazard to children – this includes necklaces, scarves, bags, and clothing with drawstrings. Make sure children are wearing comfortable, closed shoes for playing on equipment.
  2. Teach children that pushing, shoving, tripping, or crowding others while on the playground can be dangerous.
  3. Nearly 70% of all playground injuries are a result of children falling on the ground. Check to make sure fall-safe surface material is present such as mulch, sand, rubber mats, or synthetic turf. Surfaces should not be concrete, grass, asphalt, blacktop, packed dirt or rocks.
  4. Ensure that playgrounds are being maintained and inspected by quality personnel. Equipment should be free from dangerous debris such as broken glass, twisted metal, sharp sticks, and other materials which may cause harm or injury to children.
  5. Be sure that play areas for younger children are clearly separated from those meant for older kids. Typically, playground areas are designed for three different age groups: infants and toddlers under two years old, preschoolers two to five years old, and school-age children five to 12 years old.
  6. 40% of all playground injuries are related to climbing equipment. Make sure guardrails or barriers surround raised platforms to keep children under four from playing on these facilities.
  7. Create and distribute posters in schools and community areas outlining safe playground practices and behavior.
  8. Most importantly, supervise children while they are playing. Adult supervision helps prevent injuries by making sure kids avoid unsafe behavior. Additionally, if injuries occur, adults can administer first aid right away to children in need.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission provides a public playground safety checklist and additional safety guides to assist parents, teachers, and school administrators in keeping children safe. Help spread the word about playground safety by sharing these tips and guidelines with others.

What are your playground safety tips? Share your ideas in the comments below or by tweeting us, @MassGov.

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