3 Guidelines to Playground Safety (page 2)

3 Guidelines to Playground Safety

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Updated on May 10, 2013

Monkey Bars

Which piece of the playground is most dangerous? According to Dr. Phelan, monkey bars win that contest hands down. “Monkey bars been shown over and over again to be risky,” he says. “They’re challenging and engaging to the child, but many of the structures, given the height and developmental challenges presented to child, elevate the child’s risk of severe injury in the case of a fall.” Swings, surprisingly, do not cause a comparable number of fractures as either monkey bars or climbing apparatuses.

More Injury Facts

  • The most common playground injuries on the playground are falls from playground equipment, which occur most often to the head, arms or legs. There are also some reports of strangulation.
  • Schools were the most frequent location for injuries, higher than public playground or backyard swingsets. This may be because of the reduced level of supervision at school playgrounds or the inherant peer pressure in schoolyards.
  • The age group most at risk is 5 to 9. “These children can access most of the structures, but they are not as experienced or physically adept as older children,” Dr. Phelan says.

What About Backyard Equipment?

Many people overlook their own backyard swingsets and gyms when considering the safety of playgrounds, Dr. Phelan says, but the same guidelines apply. Equipment should be at a safe height, surfaced by impact-absorbing materials at the proper depth and supervised by parents as needed. Many backyard structures are installed over regular grass or dirt, neither of which absorb the impact of a fall. In the wintertime, frozen surfaces can be especially hard, creating the potential for a more severe injury. So watch out, and consider putting impact-absorbing materials that fit the requirements beneath your backyard play equipment.

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