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Early Childhood Injury Prevention
You can prevent injuries from happening to your child while at the playground.
Health Canada estimates more than 28, 000 Canadian children each year are treated at hospitals for playground related injuries.
Heading outdoors to play? Remember these important tips:
1) Apply sunscreen and insect repellent to your children before they leave the house.
2) Remove any loose clothing, such as drawstrings, scarves, and bike helmets.
3) Remind children how to play safe.
Donít be surprised. SUPERVISE!
Active supervision helps reduce childhood injuries while at the playground.
1) Adults and parents should ensure children are using age appropriate equipment.
2) Teach basic rules of play, e.g. taking turns, staying away from moving swings and bottom of slides.
3) Stay within reach of the child/children by watching them, waiting close to them to catch any potential falls and warning them of any moving objects they may not see in time.
Backyard play equipment safety tips:
1) Equipment is secured to the ground.
2) The play structure is stable. It doesnít wobble when being used and all bolts are tight and in place.
3) Children know to keep out of the way of moving swings and bottom of slides.
4) Children know how to take turns when playing on slides and swings.
5) There is no broken glass, metal, missing pieces, or rope tied to any of the equipment.
What could you find at your local playground?
What could you expect young children to do when they get to the playground? A lot of running, jumping and climbing, but not all playground equipment was made equal. Not all of these types of equipment are suitable for children of all ages.
Pre-school Age Children: (1.5 - 4 yrs)
I might not be able to reach some of the play equipment. If I canít, it is not safe for me to use. Please donít lift me on to this equipment to let me play. I donít understand how dangerous it is and I might fall off. My feet might not reach ground the while on a teeter totter, ropes or a swing so I shouldnít use these things. If a play structure is over 5 feet high that is too high for me to play on because it increases my risk for injury too much!
I might think I would like to go on a merry-go-round with the older kids, but I donít have very strong arms and I might fall off when itís going very fast. I could break a bone or hurt my head. It would be much safer for me to play in the sandbox or have you push me a little in a bucket swing.
When I get to go to the playground, I get very excited and like to run around. I might forget that the kids on swings canít stop in time if I go running by. I think I can make it, but I canít understand how fast itís going and how long it will take me to get by. You need to follow me and warn me about moving objects like swings. Also, I shouldnít stand at the bottom of slides to wait for my friends, they might run into me and I could get hurt.
Itís fun to run across the play structures and swing off of ropes and poles, but I am still too little to make my arms and legs work together properly to safely play on these kinds of equipment. Wait until I am older to let me try out these types of equipment.
There is so much to do and see when I get to the playground that you might have trouble keeping an eye on me, I change my mind quickly and can move fast when youíre not looking. Make sure that you keep your eyes on me at all times and stay within catching distance in case I fall.
School Aged Children (Aged 5-9 years):
1) Learning to take turns is important. Wait until the first person has gone down the
slide before climbing the ladder to go down. It is also important to take turns
hen waiting to slide down a firemanís pole.
2) Clear away from the area around the bottom of the slide quickly
after sliding down, in case the next person takes their turn.
3) Always go down the slide feet first.
4) Remember not to stand in front of swing sets.
5) Never push or pull on other children.
6) Merry-go-rounds, teeter-totters and tire swings should be stopped as soon as
someone wants off.
7) Never rush someone who is climbing on monkey bars, climbing ropes or ladders.
8) Make sure children are using age appropriate equipment.
9) Teach children not to jump off of swings in motion or from high structures.
10) These rules should apply to both community and backyard playgrounds.
Falls cause almost 70% of non-fatal playground injuries, including head injuries. More than 40% of children who come to emergency departments with a playground equipment injury require major treatment such as a cast or a stitch.
Climbers, slides and swings are where playground injuries are most likely to occur. The height of equipment also has an impact on injuries, as equipment higher than 5 or 6 feet greatly increases the chances of injury. Playground equipment should have railings and barriers to help prevent falls. To ensure a child canít fall or strangle, openings in railings or barriers should be smaller than 3 inches (90 mm) or larger than 9 inches (225cm) in diameter.
How do I check the surface material?
Check the depth by digging your shoe into the surface. There should be at least 6 inches (15 cm) under all equipment and 12 inches (30 cm) under equipment higher than 6 feet. Try to push the surface material to where children will land from swings, slides and ladders.
How to stay safe around some common playground equipment:
Slides are a fun activity to do when at the playground, but they can also be dangerous too! When you get to the playground, make sure metal slides are not hot. They can heat up quickly and burn sensitive skin!
Please donít walk away! Keep within armís reach of your child and be ready to catch them as they slide down. You may think your child is ready to go down on their own, but it might be a new and scary experience. For equipment such as slides and swings or any other moving play equipment, there should be at least 18 feet, (5.4 metres) around them to be safe. Between any other stationary equipment, there should be 6 feet (1.8 metres) of space between two pieces of equipment.
Have a sandbox? Make sure to cover it, so animals do not use it. At playgrounds, check for cigarette butts, broken glass and animal waste in and around playground equipment.
We work with the Grey Bruce community to protect and promote health