Children’s toys can occupy children’s attention for a certain number of hours, but no volume of children’s toys in the world can prevent them from having fun in a playground. Children should have time to play outside, if only to get fresh air and exercise. Going to the playgrounds also gives them the opportunity to develop social skills.
Playgrounds, however, aren’t exactly the safest place to leave a child unattended. Adult supervision is needed to ensure that children’s behavior around playground equipment does not harm them or other children. Adults should also make sure that the play area itself is safe for them to use.
Parents and guardians are also responsible for teaching children how to be safe while playing. Here are general rules that children should learn about playground safety:
1. No pushing
Emphasize to children, especially toddlers, the dangers of pushing and horseplay while on jungle gyms, slides, seesaws, swings, and other equipment. Tell them the possible outcome when they do this: they either get physically hurt or they may hurt their playmates.
2. Use the equipment correctly
Before letting them play, it is important to teach them the correct way to use the children’s games. Children are more likely to use playground equipment according to their own imagination. Therefore, they should be taught to slide feet first when playing on the slides, and not to climb over the outside of the railings. They should also be reminded not to stand on the swings and not to put their hands near moving parts.
3. Jump with caution
Reminding a child not to jump while playing is an exercise in futility. It is much more productive to teach them that when they jump, they should first check that there are no other children in their path and that they should land on both feet with their knees slightly bent.
4. Leave your things in a suitable place
Teach them to be aware of all potential tripping hazards, such as tree roots and rocks. Let them understand why it is important to keep children’s bags, backpacks, bikes, and other toys away from the area where they play.
5. Don’t play when the equipment is hot or humid.
Children should be taught the dangers of using wet playground equipment. Parents should point out that moisture makes surfaces slippery and could lead to accidents.
During the summer, children should also be reminded not to play on hot equipment, especially those made of metal.
6. Leave behind children’s toys
Children, especially younger ones, should be discouraged from carrying children’s toys while playing so that they can properly hold on to playground equipment.
7. Do not wear anything with laces
Emphasize to children the danger of wearing clothing with drawstrings while on a playground. Young girls should be warned that their purse straps or necklaces can become caught on equipment and accidentally strangle them.
8. Choose play structures wisely
Children need to understand the dangers of playing on structures that are too big or too small for them. Playing may be unsafe if the equipment was not designed for your age group.
9. Use sunscreen
Encourage children to use sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
Adults can supervise children while they play, but their biggest responsibility is to teach them how to act responsibly on a playground.