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Playground Safety Tips

children on a playground

Millions of kids run around on playgrounds every day, climb on jungle gyms, swing, and play tag. It's hard to accept that thousands of these kids end up in emergency rooms with broken bones or worse, but it's true.

Being aware of safety precautions is one way to help prevent playground injuries. Since 1982, Edgar Snyder & Associates has been helping injury victims, and so we know that safety is a top priority and the first step in accident prevention. That's why we've compiled this list of playground safety tips that parents and caregivers can use to protect their children.

Swing Set and Seesaw Safety

Swing Set Safety Tips

  • Only one child should be on a swing at a time, unless a swing is designed to hold two people.
  • Anyone not swinging should stand several feet back and out of the way of the swing's path.
  • Don't hang on the posts that stabilize the swing set.
  • The ground near a swing set should have wood chips or another material designed to soften landings. Don't swing in an area that has concrete or blacktop.
  • Don't push or pull a kid on a swing, and only swing back and forth – the way a swing is supposed to move. Your clothing, fingers, or hands could get caught if you try to twist while swinging, or you could collide with a person or metal pole.
  • Don't jump off a swing while you're still moving.
  • Always swing while sitting upright – never swing on your stomach or while leaning back.
  • Small children should be supervised while swinging. Very small children should use swings designed for them that provide more security and hold them in place.

Seesaw Safety Tips

  • Seesaws are usually designed for two people – never get on a seesaw when there are two people already on.
  • Stand back from a moving seesaw. If a person jumps off suddenly, that side could smack you in the face and cause serious injuries.
  • Never sit or stand on the middle of a seesaw. Don't touch parts of the seesaw while it's moving.
  • Push off gently to make the seesaw go up and then bend your knees as you lower to the ground. Never try to use all of your power or try to shock the other person by slamming them to the ground.
  • Get off a seesaw gently, and make sure the person at the other end is aware. Don't try to jump off or let go once you're no longer on the seat.

Slide & Jungle Gym Safety

Slide Safety Tips

  • Wear appropriate clothing – comfortable shirts and pants that don't have strings or loose buttons that could get caught. Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs to protect you from hot surfaces and brush burns
  • Wait your turn for the slide. Don't push or shove while waiting in line.
  • Always slide feet first – never slide head first or go down sideways.
  • Don't try to run down a slide or climb back up. Other children may not see you and could injure you.
  • Don't use a slide if there's snow, ice, or water on it.
  • On a hot day, check to see how hot the slide is first before using it. Burns can occur within seconds.

Jungle Gym Safety Tips

  • Never push or roughhouse while on jungle gyms.
  • Always check to make sure no other kids are in the way if you're going to jump off equipment. Never jump from high heights.
  • Avoid bars, poles, or broken pieces of plastic that may stick out from a jungle gym and pose hazards to playing children.

Other Playground Safety Guidelines

  • If a playground has a sandbox, check for sharp sticks or broken glass before playing in it.
  • Areas near swing sets, jungle gyms, and slides should have shock-absorbing materials on the ground or pads to protect kids from injuries. Don't ride your bike or skate there – use other areas with blacktop or concrete for those activities.
  • Always watch where you're going. Be aware of your surroundings as much as possible. Pay attention for objects or balls that may fly in your direction.
  • If a piece of playground equipment seems broken or in need of maintenance, report the problem to the owner of the playground (school, township, borough, etc.) and designate it as off-limits in the meantime.
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