It is spring season and many of us are taking our children outside to local or school playgrounds to enjoy playing outside and meeting new friends. Many people will be new parents .Perhaps it will be the first time you are taking your child to a playground. Children deserve to play freely, it is an important part of growing up that they practice their motor skills climbing and also learn how to share equipment. However accidents do happen even on in the safest playgrounds. Whilst not wanting to scare parents it is useful to learn the most common injuries that can occur and how to minimize these. Each year Hospital Emergency Departments treat more than 200 000 children under the age of 14 years for playground related injuries.
Some interesting Facts. (Taken from the CDCP survey statistics in 2014)
•Approximately 56 % of playground related injuries are fractures and abrasions.
•75 % of the injuries can be traced back to playground equipment on public playgrounds i.e. community or school playgrounds.
•The amount of playground treated injuries had increased considerably since 2005.
•Most injuries involve Monkey Bars, Climbing equipment or Swings.
•Most injuries occurred during weekdays and during the months of April, May and September.
•All children can be at risk of injury but statistics show that boys (55%) are treated more frequently than girls.
•Children ages 5-9 years have the highest rate of injuries. Most of these happened at schools.
•It has been clearly established that in public playgrounds injuries occur on Monkey Bars more frequently than any other equipment.
•Playgrounds that are well maintained have fewer risk factors for injury to children.
What can be done to reduce these Injuries on Playgrounds?
•Make sure that playgrounds at schools and in community parks are well maintained.
•Particular attention should be paid to Broken Swings, Rotting Wood or Rusty Equipment.
•All guardrails should be in good condition to help prevent falls.
•Consideration should be given to removing Monkey Bars from a Playground. These have been shown to cause the most injuries.
•Make sure that the play area is clear of things children can trip over like tree stumps and rocks.
•Make sure there are playground signs with advice and rules on how to use the equipment. Explain the rules to your child simply in an age appropriate manner.
•Only let your child play on equipment that is suitable for their age.
•Supervise your child at all times.
•Help your child to learn how to share equipment safely.
•Make sure that there is a soft landing area under all equipment.
•Dress your child for play. Make sure there are no loose drawstrings to catch on equipment particularly around the neck. Closed toe athletic type shoes should be worn.
•Note the weather: – In summertime metal equipment can get very hot. If it has rained recently look out for puddles and water that can make equipment slippery.
Playgrounds are a great place for you and your child. They can enjoy the outdoors. By only going to well maintained safe playgrounds and supervising closely you will reduce the chances of your child becoming one of the above injury statistics. Most important of all let your child have FUN!