Wolcott Street School Guide for Playground Safety.
Le Roy Central School District 2-6 Trigon Park Leroy, NY 14482
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
These facts do not indicate whether the children using the equipment were properly supervised or whether the equipment was scaled to the age and developmental levels of the children:
Over 200,000 children receive emergency treatment for playground injuries. Boys (53.5%) receive slightly higher injuries than girls (46.5%). Nearly 70% of injuries occur on public playgrounds. Injuries to the head and face accounted for 60% of all injuries to children ages 0-4. Injuries to the arm and hand accounted for 43% of injuries to children ages 5-14. Swings have the highest incidence rates for children ages 0-4. Climbing equipment had the highest incidence rates for ages 5-14. Approximately 36% of injuries are classified as severe. Falls to the surface were a contributing factor in 70% of all injuries. The majority of injuries (71%) occurred in April through September. Playgrounds and outdoor play equipment can provide students with fun, fresh air, and exercise, but they can also pose some safety hazards. Faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behavior are just a few of the dangers that cause students on playgrounds to visit hospital emergency departments. Each year, more than 200,000 kids are treated in hospital ERs for playground-related injuries. Many of these injuries could have been prevented with the proper supervision. You can make the playground a place that's entertaining and safe for your students by checking equipment for potential hazards and following some simple safety guidelines. In addition, teaching your students how to play safely is important: if your students know the rules of the playground, it's less likely he or she will get hurt.
• • Teachers can help prevent playground accidents by taking some precautions, ensuring that there is adult supervision at the playground, and making sure that any equipment that their students play on is appropriate to his or her age and maturity level. Adult supervision can help prevent injuries by making sure students properly use any playground equipment and don't engage in unsafe behavior around it. If an injury does occur, an adult can assist the child and administer any needed first aid right away. Students should always have adult supervision when they're at the playground. Young children (and sometimes older ones) can't always gauge distances properly and aren't capable of foreseeing dangerous situations by themselves. Older children often love to test their limits on the playground, so it's important for an adult to be there to keep them in check.
Teaching Your Students about Playground Safety
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • Safe playground equipment and adult supervision are extremely important, but it's only half of the equation: Kids must know how to be safe and act responsibly at the playground. Here are some general rules to teach your students: Never push or roughhouse while on jungle gyms, slides, seesaws, swings, and other equipment. Use equipment properly - slide feet first, don't climb outside guardrails, no standing on swings, etc. If you jump off equipment, make sure that you check to make sure that there are no other children in the way. When you jump, land on both feet with knees slightly bent. Leave bikes, backpacks, and bags away from the equipment and the area where you're playing so that no one trips over them and falls. Playground equipment should never be used if it is wet because moisture causes the surface to be slippery. During the summertime, playground equipment can become uncomfortably or even dangerously hot, especially metal slides. So use good judgment - if the equipment feels hot to the touch, it's probably not safe or fun to play on. Don't wear clothes with drawstrings or other strings at the playground. Drawstrings, purses, and necklaces could get caught on equipment and accidentally strangle a child. Wear sunscreen when playing outside even on cloudy days so that you don't get sunburned. Slides are safe if students are careful when using them. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind: Children should take one step at a time and hold onto the handrail when climbing the ladder to the top of the slide. They should not climb up the slide itself to get to the top. Students should always slide down feet first and sitting up, never head first on his/her back or stomach. Only one child should be on the slide platform at a time, and kids shouldn't slide down in groups. Your students should always check that the bottom of the slide is clear before sliding down. When he or she reaches the bottom of the slide, he or she should get off and move away from the end of the slide so it's clear for other kids to slide down.
Climbing Equipment Safety
• • • Climbing equipment comes in many shapes and sizes - including rock climbing walls, arches, and vertical and horizontal ladders. It's generally more challenging for kids than other kinds of playground equipment. Be sure your students are aware of a safe way down in case he or she can't complete the climb. The highest rates of injuries on public playgrounds are associated with climbing equipment, which is dangerous if not designed or used properly. Adult supervision is especially important for younger students who are playing on climbing equipment. Climbing equipment can be used safely if children are taught to use both hands and to stay well behind the person in front of them and beware of swinging feet. When they drop from the bars, kids should be able to jump down without hitting the equipment on the way down. Remind kids to have their knees bent and land on both feet. Too many children on the equipment at one time can be dangerous. Everyone should start on the same side of the equipment and move across it in the same direction. When climbing down, kids should watch for those climbing up; they should never race across or try to reach for bars that are too far ahead. Children who are younger than the age 5 may not have the upper body strength necessary for climbing and should only be allowed to climb on age-appropriate equipment. Preschoolers should only climb 5 feet (1.6 m) high and school-age children should only climb 7 feet (2.3 m) high.
• • •
Age Appropriate Equipment
• Students from ages two to five do not have the upper arm strength, hand grip size and other coordination of a school age children, although they like to think they do. Equipment in the outdoor play area should be labeled indicating the age of children for which it is designed to be used. Equipment should be grouped by age thus enabling school age children and preschool children to have their own outdoor play area.
• • • The National Program for Playground Safety University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0618 Phone: 800-554-PLAY Website: http://www/uni.edu/playground Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Handbook for Public Playground Safety U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Washington, DC 20207 http://www.cpsc.gov The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 141 Northwest Point Boulevard P.O. Box 927 Elk Grove, IL 60007-1098 http://www.aap.org National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) 1509 16th St., N.W. Washington, DC 20036 800-424-2460 http://www.naeyc.org email@example.com National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care 800-598-KIDS http://nrc.uchsc.edu Wisconsin Child Care Information Center (CCIC) 2109 South Stoughton Road Madison, WI 53716 800-362-7353 http://www.dpi.state.wi.us/ccic