Playground Safety Tips - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jul 10, 2020

Playground Safety Tips

A day at the playground can be a fun way to spend time outdoors with your child  and also help them expend some of their (what may often feel like) limitless energy.  Playgrounds are a great place for children to socialize with others and can make for a cost-effective birthday party spot.

But as fun as they are for your children, playgrounds can also pose some serious safety hazards. Whether you’re a frequent visitor to the neighborhood playground or thinking about installing some play equipment in your own yard, you’ll want to keep these playground safety tips in mind to keep your child safe as they have fun.

Assessing the Playground

Not all playgrounds are created equally when it comes to safety. Look for these features and assess the safety of your chosen playground before sending your child out to play:
       Ground coverage matters - If your child falls while playing, you want to make sure it’s on a soft surface. Look for playgrounds that feature wood chips, mulch, sand or pea gravel. Stay clear of areas full of holes, tree stumps or other potential tripping hazards. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for dangerous litter left behind by previous players and their parents, such as broken glass or cans with sharp edges.
       Fall-prevention features - Check out the elevated play areas and make sure they all have hand or guardrails to keep your child from falling off.
       Unwanted dangers - Give the equipment a once-over to make sure there aren’t any sharp edges or bolts protruding from the equipment.

Age-Appropriate Play

As a parent, you know that not all activities are suitable for all ages. Use these tips to make sure your child’s play is safe for their age group:
       Adult supervision - No matter what age your child is, it’s important that you’re always keeping an eye on them while they are playing in a public space.
       Check the handbook - In case you’re looking for more information on what playground equipment and activities are appropriate for your child based on their age, you can check out the Public Playground Safety Handbook.

Be Mindful of Sun Exposure

       Lather on the SPF - Before heading out to the playground, make sure your child is protected from the sun’s rays by applying a healthy amount of sunscreen. Be sure to use an appropriate level of SPF for the fullest protection (the higher the SPF number, the better the protection).
       Check the equipment - Unfortunately, many playgrounds are not well shaded which can cause the equipment to get pretty hot between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm when the sun is most intense. Before sending your child out to the playground, put your hand to the metal equipment and make sure it isn’t too hot for your child to play on.
       Water, water and more water - Hydration is always important, regardless of the season or temperature but it certainly becomes more important in the heat of the summer. Bring a cooler of healthful drinks with you to the playground and occasionally interrupt your child’s play time for water breaks.

After-Play Care

Once your child has had a fun round of play on the playground, there are a few follow-up steps you should take to insure their health and safety:
       Buckle up - Did you drive to the playground? Here are some tips for making sure your child safety seat is properly installed.
       Tend to minor injuries - If your child fell while playing and scraped their knee, make sure to treat the affected area with antibiotics and a bandage. Similarly, if they come home with a bug bite or two, treat the bites with anti-itch cream to reduce scratching.
       Refuel - Chances are, your child just expended a lot of energy. Make sure all play sessions are followed by a healthy snack such as fruit, cheese and whole grain crackers or yogurt, and plenty of water.
       Wash those paws - The first thing everyone in your family should do upon returning from any destination is wash their hands. Doing so will help your family reduce  the number of germs everyone is bringing into the household. This is especially important for your child who has just been playing on the playground and touching surfaces that are also touched by dozens or hundreds of other children. You may also consider bringing hand sanitizer to the playground with you so that you can eradicate those germs right off the bat.

Following these playground safety tips can go a long way in keeping your child's play fun and injury-free.

But as you probably know, outdoor play doesn’t have to be limited to the playground! Your own backyard can also make for a fun and engaging play area for your children. Click on the button below to learn more about making your backyard as safe as possible for your young explorers.