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Parents And Playground Safety
Remember your favorite park growing up? Where all you wanted to do was hang on the monkey bars and play freeze tag? Pass along your young-at-heart spirit by knowing which playground equipment your kids play on is safe and age appropriate.
CHOOSING A PLAYGROUND
Not sure what makes a safe playground? Whether you’re visiting one or building your own, here’s what to look for:
- Stable, yet cushioned surfacing that extends at least 6 feet beyond the equipment
- No standing water or debris that could cause injury
- Elevated platforms and ramps with guardrails and protective barriers
- Accessibility for a variety of abilities
- Equipment with moving parts (see saws, merry-go-rounds) are separated from the rest of the playground
- Swings are at least 2 feet apart and 2.5 feet from any support frame
- All openings on equipment (nets, ladder rungs or guardrail bars) are closer than 3½ inches or wide enough so kids can’t get caught or tangled as they climb.
FUN FOR ALL AGES
Children under age 5 should avoid:
- Chain or cable walks
- Sliding poles
- Track rides
- Climbing equipment
Kids between age 5 and 12 can enjoy the following equipment, as long as it isn’t higher than 7 feet off the ground:
- Angled rope or chain climbers
- Climbing pieces
- Horizontal bars
- Tire swings
- Sliding poles
Some equipment is considered unsafe for children of any age. Skip these, and take a spin on the slide instead:
- Overhead rings
- Trapeze bars
- Gliders that hold more than one child in a seat at a time
GROW MORE CONFIDENT KIDDOS
Teach your children the safest ways to enjoy the playground:
Alert eyes: Watch for other kids before sliding, jumping or swinging.
Smart sliding: Only one person on the slide at a time. Go down feet first.
Pump those legs. Always sit—never stand or kneel on the swings.
Look ahead. Always face forward on the see-saws. And keep it to one kid on each side.
Skip the gear. Don’t wear bike helmets, backpacks or clothes with drawstrings on the playground.
Park your wheels. Leave bikes outside the play area.