Playground Dangers: Tips on Staying Safe
Dr. Sandseter said, “Children approach thrills and risks in a progressive manner, and very few children would try to climb to the highest point for the first time they climb. The best thing is to let children encounter these challenges from an early age, and they will then progressively learn to master them through their play over the years.”
It’s generally known that the playground is where children grow up. It is where they develop and find their inner strengths. Playground is an integral part of our childhood. It is here that we learn to fight our fears and face them bravely.
Children of all ages can spend hours swinging, climbing, balancing, digging, running and interacting with each other in these indispensable arenas. A report prepared for the Shasta Children and Families First Commission concluded that playgrounds are “vital for a child’s cognitive, emotional, physical, and social development.”
Playground equipment helps toddlers’ brains develop, as they learn about the world through motor activities and sensory experiences, according to the Shasta report. However, there are good and bad things in all aspects of life.
Just like everything else, the playground can never be ‘too safe’ for your child. There can be physical injuries, bullies and strangers in the playground that can be dangerous. So how can these things are dealt with?
- Make sure the park where your child goes, has the right swings for his age.
- The children he plays with are around his age group, it is easier to get hurt in a group of older kids (bache)
- See if there are nails or wooden pieces sticking out from the playing equipments.
- Vertical and horizontal spaces should be less than 3½ inches wide or more than 9 inches wide. This is to keep a small child’s head from getting trapped.
- Make sure open or “S” hooks on swing chains are closed to form a figure 8, so that the swing doesn’t lose its grip causing a (possibly fatal) injury.
- Swings should not be too close together. There should be at least 24 inches between swings and no more than 2 seat swings (or 1 tire swing) in the same section of the structure.
- Make sure there are no rocks, glass, sticks, toys, debris, or other children at the base of a slide. These could get in the way of a child landing safely.
If your child is at an age where he can process things around him and can communicate, teach him to mention if he sees any such dangerous things in the park. That way you don’t have to be paranoid at all times, and can complain to the management of that playground.
- Stay connected to your child. Relationships are all about connection, especially with parents. Talk to your child on a daily basis, ask them which kid said or did what.
- If you suspect bullying but your child is reluctant to open up, find opportunities to bring up the issue in a more roundabout way.
- Let your kids know that if they’re being bullied or harassed — or see it happening to someone else — it’s important to talk to someone about it, whether it’s you, another adult (a teacher, school counselor, or family friend), or a sibling.
- Model confident behavior with other people. Be the model. Show them that you are not ready to be pushed around by people, and they shouldn’t be either.
- Directly teach your child respectful self-assertion. Kids need to know they can get their needs met while being respectful of other people. Give him words to stick up for himself early on: ‘It’s my turn on the swing.’ ‘Don’t hold me like that.’
- If the bullying gets worse, talk to the bully’s parents and discuss about therapy.
- Parents need to be aware of possible predators. Typical signs are: someone who seems too good to be true, who offers extensive help to your family, who knows too much about your kids or kids in general, especially if they don’t have children of their own. You should know all adults who you allow to have contact with your child.
- Teach children to trust their instincts. Explain that if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away as fast as they can and tell an adult.
- Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they know that it’s okay to say no to an adult and to run away from adults in dangerous situations.
- Tell your children to play in groups of children. Prefer not to be alone.