Playground safety: Children need supervision to prevent injury
National Playground Safety Week is April 25-29. Cheri Sage, state director for Safe Kids Kansas, reminds parents that on the playground, active supervision and certain safety precautions are necessary to ensure their children remain healthy and safe.
Q: Seriously, are playgrounds dangerous for children?
A: Each year, approximately 15 children die from injuries involving playground equipment, and more than 200,000 are treated in emergency rooms in the United States.
Q: Beyond bumps and bruises, what are we talking about in terms of playground injuries?
A: About 45 percent of playground-related injuries are severe. They include fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations and amputations.
Q: What causes the most injuries on playgrounds?
A: Falls account for 80 percent of playground injuries. On public playgrounds, over half of the injuries occur as a result of the child climbing on equipment and falling.
Q: What’s the best advice for parents pertaining to their children playing on a playground?
A: Kids on a playground need your undivided attention. Nothing can take the place of active supervision, but we do need to make sure our kids are playing in safe environments in the first place. Playgrounds should be separate for children ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12, and they should have safe surfacing beneath and surrounding all playground equipment.
Q: So what kind of surfaces are recommended?
A: The ground should be covered 12 inches deep with energy-absorbing materials like shredded rubber, wood chips or sand, extending at least six feet in all directions around the equipment. It won’t prevent falls, but it can prevent injuries or reduce their severity. Grass and soil are not good playground surfaces under climbing equipment and swings.