House Call: Playground safety
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Welcome back to UHC’s House Call on WDTV. In the fourth part of our five part series, Summer Safety for Kids, Dr. John Backus, Director of Emergency Medicine Operations at UHC, joins us to talk about summer safety tips and ways to keep children safe and healthy while enjoying their summer.
1. How can I help keep my child safe at a playground?
Each year in the United States, Emergency Departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. It is important for parents to do the following:
- Check to make sure that the surfaces under playground equipment are safe, soft, and well maintained—you want to ensure that soft materials are used, such as wood chips, sand, or mulch,
- Check the temperature of metal swings, slides, dark rubber, and plastic materials,
- Read playground signs and use playground equipment that is right for your child’s age,
- Make sure there are guardrails in good condition to help prevent falls, and
- Look out for things in the play area that can trip your child, such as tree stumps or rocks.
2. What is something that needs emphasized when at the playground?
- Parents or guardians need to actively supervise children at all times. Watch, count, and listen to children.
- Parents need to have clear sightlines and easy access.
- Anticipate what children may do and redirect when necessary.
- Account for all children before leaving the playground.
3. How important are clothing choices for children going to the playground?
Playgrounds are a great outdoor support for children’s physical and social development. An age and developmentally appropriate and well-maintained playground offer children many opportunities for outdoor learning and physical activity. However, playgrounds are also the most common location for injuries due to falls and entanglement.
Entanglement is a condition in which an article/part of a child’s clothing or something around a child’s neck/torso such as a loose string, hood lacing or loop, has the potential to become caught or entwined on a playground component. This kind of hazard poses the risk of strangulation. Falls are the most common cause of injuries on playgrounds, but entanglements are the major cause of death and debilitating injuries. Leave items such as necklaces and clothing with drawstrings at home to reduce strangulation hazards.
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