Summertime means sunshine, starlit nights, and chasing fireflies. It also means spending more time at the playground. Remember to be mindful of the condition of the playground used during playground safety week April 24-28. As provided by the National Program for Playground Safety, here are the top ten summer playground safety tips before heading for playground adventures that can be injury free.

• Adult supervision is present. Adult presence is needed to watch for potential hazards, observe, intercede and facilitate play when necessary.


• All children play on age-appropriate equipment. Preschoolers (ages 2-5) and school-age children (ages 5-12) are developmentally different and need different equipment located in separate areas to keep the playground safe and fun for all.

• Appropriate fall surfacing material is present. Nearly 70 percent of all playground injuries are related to children falling to the ground. Acceptable surfaces include wood fiber or mulch, pea gravel, sand, poured-in-place rubber, rubber mats or rubber tiles. Playground surfaces should not be concrete, asphalt, grass, blacktop, packed dirt or rocks.

• Equipment is safe. Check to make sure the equipment is anchored safely in 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.

• No strings or ropes are present. Strings on clothing or ropes used for play can cause accidental strangulation if caught on equipment. Ropes used as part of playground equipment should be secured on both ends.

• Equipment is not too hot. Check for hot surfaces on playground equipment before allowing children to play on it. If shade structures do not protect the equipment from the sun, the surface can become extremely hot and can even cause burns on the skin.

No bicycle helmets are worn on the equipment. Children should not wear bike helmets when playing on playground equipment. They can easily get caught and may cause strangulation.

• Children wear appropriate clothing. NPPS strongly encourages children to wear closed shoes (no flip flops) and appropriate clothing.

• Children are protected from the sun. Encourage the use of UVA and UVB protective clothing and sunglasses, suggest playing in shaded areas, and, of course, always use sunscreen.

• Children are protected from extreme temperatures. A heat index at or above 90 degrees F may pose a health risk to children. Be watchful of the temperature while outdoors and keep children well hydrated.

On the NPPS website, locate the Safety Checklist to assess the safety of the playground while onsite. Kids can also help complete the NPPS Kid Checker program. Enjoy the summer season, but remember to stay S.A.F.E.


By Gale Mills

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