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Play it Safe: Playground Safety Tips

Image courtesy of groundsforplay.com

Recess is typically the highlight of a child’s school day. It is important to make sure that playgrounds are as safe as they are fun. Here at Student Accident, we want to help your school prepare for anything that could happen on the playground or during any other school-related activity. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that each year, emergency departments see more than 200,000 children age 14 and younger for playground related injury. More than 20,000 of these children are treated for traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussion. 4 simple rules from playgroundsafety.org can help in ensuring safety during recess:

S.A.F.E. Factors

  1. Provide proper supervision of children on playgrounds
  2. Design age-appropriate playgrounds
  3. Provide proper fall surfacing under and around playgrounds
  4. Properly maintain playground equipment

“Does your playground make the grade?” Click the icon below for a Playground Safety Report Card.

Your school’s playground has likely not been touched for weeks because of summer vacation. Be sure to inspect prior to school starting and regularly after it is in session. The following are playground hazards to watch for, listed by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Improper protective surfaces: Fall surfaces should be made of wood chips, mulch, wood fibers, sand, pea gravel, shredded tires or rubber mats and should be at least 12 inches deep.

Inadequate use zone: The area under and around playground equipment where a child might fall should be a minimum or 6 feet in all directions.

Protrusion hazards: beware of hardware that is capable of impaling or cutting a child (bolts, rungs, hooks, etc.) or catching strings or items of clothing.

Head entrapment hazards: There should be no openings that measure between 3 ½ and 9 inches.

Overcrowded play area: Swings should be set far enough away from other equipment that children won’t be hit by a moving swing.

Trip Hazards such as rocks or tree stumps.

Lack of Supervision: Children under age 4 should not play on climbing equipment or horizonal ladders.

Age inappropriate activities: Spring-loaded seesaws are best for young children. Avoid adjustable seesaws with chains because children can crush their hands under the chains. A traditional seesaw should not hit the ground.

Lack of maintenance: Metal or wooden swing sets should be replaced with soft seats, and equipment should not be split or splintered.

Sharp edges on equipment

Platforms with no guardrails

The National Program for Playground Safety says to check to make sure equipment is anchored safely into the ground, all equipment pieces are in good working order, S-hooks are entirely closed, bolts are not protruding, and there are no exposed footings. Equipment should be free of rust, splinters, and missing parts.

Student Accident is prepared to help with playground injuries and can provide your school with the right coverage.

 

About the Author:Catherine Wardach