LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2011) — Spring is officially here, and a trip to the playground is often a go-to activity that both parents and kids enjoy. While the risks and dangers associated with swimming or riding a bike might seem more obvious, active supervision and certain safety precautions are also necessary when kids are playing on the playground.
National Playground Safety Week, April 25-29, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s "Handbook for Public Playground Safety," which provides guidelines for protective surfacing and age-appropriate playground equipment for children.
Each year, around six children die from injuries involving playground equipment, and more than 200,000 are treated in emergency rooms. Falls account for 80 percent of playground injuries; however, most playground fatalities are caused by strangulation and tend to occur on home playgrounds, not on public property.
“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,” said Sherri Hannan, a nurse and coordinator of Safe Kids Fayette County, led by Kentucky Children's Hospital. "Playgrounds should be separate for children ages two to five and five to 12, and they should have safe surfacing beneath and surrounding all playground equipment.”
Safe Kids Fayette County also reminds parents and caregivers to:
- Make sure playground equipment is inspected frequently and kept in good repair.
- Remove hood and neck drawstrings from children’s clothing and outerwear as they can pose a risk for strangulation on playground equipment. Don’t let kids wear helmets, necklaces, purses or scarves on the playground either.
- Don’t allow your kids to engage in, or play near, any pushing, shoving or crowding around playground equipment.
- Keep toddlers under age 5 in a separate play area, away from equipment designed for bigger kids.
Safe Kids Fayette County works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Its members include health and safety experts, educators, community leaders, corporations, foundations, government representatives and volunteers to educate and protect families. Safe Kids Fayette County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Fayette County was founded in 1994 by Kentucky Children's Hospital.