Over 200,000 children 14 years and younger head to emergency rooms each year in the U.S., according to a recent study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Where do these injuries alone originate from? The playground. Chances are, at least some of these playground injuries are fully preventable. But where do you start and what actions for playground safety should you take?
National Playground Safety Week is a great opportunity for parents and teachers to be aware of their children’s surroundings on the playground so that a place that brings them plenty of joy isn’t one associated with serious injuries. To help, SOS Technologies has outlined some of the most important areas you can keep top-of-mind to address in order to minimize risk to your child.
Are You Actually Watching Your Kids?
It’s easy to look at your phone for one minute and read an article, assuming everything is OK since the child you’re supervising isn’t far away. But think about it – how quickly does a child move from one place to another? Distracted supervision means a child could climb stairs or try monkey bars that they’re not ready to tackle for their age, for example. It doesn’t take long to go from curiosity to injury. So be alert and ready to move toward the child in seconds if need be.
Similarly, we’d love to say kids always get along but one small disagreement on top of a playground structure can turn into a push or shove that causes a child to lose their balance and fall. It happens in little ones just learning how to share and take turns as easily as any age. Stay on top of those brewing conflicts so you can quickly step in and diffuse it before it leads to injury.
One more benefit of your being this alert is that it calls your attention to specific areas of the playground where accidents are waiting to happen. Is a piece of equipment more loose than it should be? Is there a broken glass bottle on the ground under a swing or is the swing seat cracked, creating a sharp edge? Is a slide retaining so much heat that it could burn a child’s skin on contact? A child may discover these hazards, but probably not until it’s too late. If you see equipment in need of repair, notify the proper authority on the grounds of it immediately.
Falls Are Going To Happen. But Are They Cushioned?
Any time you have children on a playground running, it’s only a matter of time before one of them falls. However, the difference between a serious injury and being temporarily startled, then getting right back on their feet can come down to the surface area. Surfaces that may better cushion a fall include wood chips, sand or synthetic turf. Not to mention they’re a lot better for cushioning a jump off a ladder or a swing. No playground area should have a hard surface, such as concrete or asphalt, which offers zero cushion.
Too Young Or Too Old For An Area Of The Playground?
A toddler can fall down a ladder they never should have tried to climb. A teenager can break through a piece of equipment not made for their age and weight. These factors, combined with playground equipment that hasn’t been updated in years, can create a chaotic and dangerous situation in a hurry. That’s why parents and teachers have to educate children on what’s suitable for them to play on and what’s totally off limits.
If Accidents Happen, What’s Your Playground Safety Action Plan?
We say “if” accidents should happen, but we all know better. Preparation for injuries is what may minimize the severity of each injury, which comes down to having the right safety equipment on hand and safety training in mind. What are they and how do you get an ample amount of both?
- First Aid For A Fall
Like so many injuries, we often say that every second counts and it doesn’t have to be a dire, life-threatening injury either. The sooner you can apply first aid, the better. In addition to a first aid cabinet within the school, a teacher or parent supervising students should always have a portable first aid kit that is stocked with many essential components for safety and healing, including bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, eyewash and ice packs. Other safety supplies should be stored in a first aid cabinet in a centralized location on school property that’s accessible by a variety of authorized people – not just one person that “has the key.”
- CPR For The Unconscious
The ability to perform CPR is an easily-learned skill that will come in handy when you never expect it. If a child is clearly unconscious on the playground and in need of resuscitation, don’t merely call 9-1-1 and wait for an ambulance to arrive. Training for CPR benefits every parent and school staff member who may be the only adult near the child to administer such life-saving activity. So get yourself certified in CPR as soon as possible!
- An AED For Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Rare as it may seem for a young child, sudden cardiac arrest can happen. So if a child is not only unconscious but not breathing, the combination of an AED with CPR is critical to their chance of survival. Enhance that opportunity in a tight window by ensuring an Automated External Defibrillator is either near the playground within the school or in the back of your parked car. The longer it takes to retrieve the AED, precious minutes will tick by. So as someone calls 9-1-1, retrieve the AED and follow the prompts on the device that can guide you through the process of delivering a shock to the child’s heart. You will alternate this activity with giving them CPR.
Add SOS Technologies To Your Playground Safety Team
We’ve got the equipment, training and ability to assess your playground on all safety matters so that you are covered before, during and after an injury occurs. First aid kits. CPR training. AED devices and accessories. Your kids never have to head out to recess or other periods of play again without better protection from serious injury. So don’t approach their enthusiasm for having fun with a bundle of fear. Get the peace of mind you deserve with items like our:
To learn more, call SOS today at 888.705.6100.