10 Playground Dangers To Watch Out For
1) Rusted slides and equipment – Over time, screws and other metal surfaces may corrode when not properly coated or maintained. This could cause sharp edges to appear, which could ultimately cut or injure a child.
2) Uncovered screws – Some playground equipment has exposed screws which could cut or scrape a child who comes in contact with it.
3) Falls from high equipment – Many serious injuries occur when a child tries to cross the hanging bars or when they try to jump down from a high step. The ground surface should be soft enough to cushion any potential fall. Unfortunately, many playgrounds have hard surfaces which could cause more serious injuries. When children are not adequately supervised, like an improperly staffed day care, children could get seriously hurt.
4) Mulch grounds – Children will fall on a playground. It happens. When the ground surface contains sharp objects, like cut up pieces of wood or mulch, these can cause splinters and puncture wounds if a child lands on it. I recommend soft materials, like rubber or other sponge-like surface, which can help brace a child’s fall.
5) Bigger kids versus smaller kids – When bigger kids are using the same playground equipment as younger kids, close supervision is often necessary to prevent serious injury. I’ve seen situations where older kids may push a younger kid down a slide, or run quickly through the playground area and bump into the smaller, slower children.
6) Child predators – One hidden danger in playgrounds is the child predator. When you go to a playground, there is no security check. Child abductors or child molesters could lurk around playgrounds waiting for an opportunity to harm a child. I handled a case recently where a child was followed into a bathroom, and a child molester allegedly peered over the bathroom stall to watch the young boy go to the bathroom.
7) Lightening – When storms roll in as children play on a playground, they should seek shelter if there is lightening in the area. Lightening is a known killer. Children and parents should seek shelter if they hear thunder or are aware of lightening.
8) Burns – Playground equipment can get very hot and cause serious burns. Parents should touch various spots on the equipment to make sure it is cool enough or warn their children to be careful around “hot spots”.
9) Swings – Swings could be dangerous if a child is not properly supervised. Children may think it is fun to see how high they could go, but they could fall off or jump from too high a point and seriously injure themselves or others. Swing straps are also important to keep younger children restrained so they do not fall out.
10) Germs – Playgrounds can be a breeding ground for germs. Toddlers drool over equipment, dirt, dust and outdoor chemicals can contact the equipment, and sick kids may be running around because their parents didn’t want to take them to school and didn’t want to have them sit at home all day.
Playground Safety Should Be Your #1 Priority!
Whether you own a playground or go to a public or private playground, look for unsafe conditions and use caution where necessary. Teach your children about the potential dangers of playgrounds and playground equipment so they can enjoy playing outside.