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Baby and Toddler - Playground Safety

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					Baby and Toddler - Playground Safety
Finding a safe place for your child to play can be very hard sometimes.
Slides, swings and jungle gyms are a dream come true for most children,
but can be a nightmare for parents when they come home with black eyes,
bumps, bruises and broken limbs.
Whether you are looking for a play set for home or looking at a public
playground, make sure it is age appropriate. If you are looking for
equipment to use at home; look for something that is adjustable as your
child grows. For your toddlers, look for something that is no higher than
six feet at its topmost point. The play platforms should be no higher
than four feet from the ground and have guardrails. They should also be
easy to get down from. The playground slide should be no more than a 30
degree incline. It should also be at least twenty two inches deep. If the
slide is more than four feet high, then it should have raised sides.
Make sure the play equipment is safe. When you are looking for a play
system, look for a system that says the manufacturer followed the
guidelines of the American Society for the Testing of Materials or of the
Consumer Product Safety Commission. The equipment should be sturdy in
construction. Make sure it is correctly assembled, follow the
instructions exactly and make sure it is firmly anchored in concrete. The
concrete should be covered in earth or a soft padding. The play system
should be set at least six feet from fences or walls.
You should avoid swings with S-like hooks; these can pop out easily with
vigorous swinging. The climbing rope should be anchored at both ends. The
swings should be a bucket type, of soft shock absorbing materials. To
prevent head injuries the swings should be twenty four inches apart and
thirty inches form the support posts. All of the rings and other openings
should be designed to prevent head entrapment. All of the metal should be
painted or treated to avoid rusting. If there is any wood, it should also
be treated to prevent rotting. The treatment used should be with shellac
paint because some wood treatment is made with arsenic-based material.
The playground equipment should be in good repair and checked regularly
for broken or missing parts. If you are at a park and see it in a poor
condition, you should report it to the local parks department. You should
avoid the playground until it is fixed.
The surfaces under the playground should be soft. Remove all rocks and
tree roots. You can either put down play sand, wood chips, sawdust, bark
or other shock absorbing material. Do not rely on your grassy yard
because it still could be dangerous, even fatal. Injuries are possible on
this surface even if the fall is from a foot above. The shock absorbing
material should extend six feet from the play area.
Make sure that your toddler isn't wearing a cape, floppy sleeves, flowing
clothes or any other clothing that can be entangled in the equipment.
This can cause a strangulation hazard. Any play equipment is only as safe
the supervision a child playing on it gets.
Michael Russell
Your Independent Baby and Toddler guide.

				
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posted:10/11/2010
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