Check out playground equipment before letting your child play
BY DR. KOMOROFF Universal Uclick
Thursday, March 07, 2013
3/07/13 at 2:17 AM
Dear Doctor K: Two of my child's friends have hurt themselves playing on the playground recently. What can I do to keep my child safe?
Dear Reader: Each year more than 200,000 children in the United States visit emergency rooms for playground injuries.
Here's the advice my pediatrician colleagues give parents to keep their kids as safe as possible:
Supervise your child. Injuries can happen when kids use the equipment in unsafe ways.
Guide children to age-appropriate equipment.
Check for cushioning beneath equipment. Playground equipment should not be located over hard surfaces such as grass, packed dirt, rocks, asphalt or blacktop. Acceptable surfaces include thick layers of hardwood fiber/mulch, pea gravel and sand. Other options include rubber tiles or mats. Cushioned surfaces should be provided under all equipment and should extend at least 6 feet in all directions from the edge of the equipment.
Inspect individual equipment. Playground equipment is supposed to be inspected and maintained, but that doesn't always happen.
Ladders, platforms and steps: Steps should be in good condition and handrails should have appropriate grip sizes for children. Platforms should be surrounded by a guardrail or protective barrier.
Swings: They should be at least 24 inches apart and 30 inches from any supports. The cushioning surface should extend for at least twice the height of the swing, in front and back of the swing seat, and at least 6 feet to each side of the structure.
Slides: They should be well anchored, have firm handrails and have steps with good traction. There should be no spaces between the slide platform and the slide itself.
Seesaws: The handles should be secure and easy to grip. There should be a soft bumper under the bottom of the seat, and all pivot points should be covered to prevent pinched fingers.
Write Dr. K at www.AskDoctorK.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut, Kansas City, MO 64106