As the weather turns warm, summer approaches, and kids go outdoors, it’s essential that parents are aware of the potential dangers of metro-area playgrounds, and to be vigilant when visiting them. While playgrounds provide families with an exciting place to play and exercise, they are also the source of many emergency-room visits resulting from falls, equipment hazards, collisions, entrapment, and unsafe surfaces. Before letting the kids spill out onto the playground, parents should inspect it themselves.
Dora Esparza, a Certified Playground Safety Inspector in Denver, says, “Parents should do a playground walk-through to see if there are any equipment hazards, such as sharp edges, long bolts, or missing guard rails on platforms. They also need to check inside tubes where teens sometimes hang out at night and even look through the wood chips or mulch for items that might have been left there, such as cigarette butts, condoms, and needles, because if those things are there, kids will find them.”
In addition, it’s important to check for spaces that could trap children, as well as testing slides and other surfaces for temperature as children can be easily burned on hot plastic and metal. It’s also smart to wear shoes at all times.
Parents often make the mistake of taking children to playgrounds that may not be age-appropriate.
“Most playgrounds are designed for school-age children, which aren’t usually suitable for toddlers,” added Esparza.
On playgrounds with tall platforms, the guardrails are meant to protect kids from falling backward off the equipment, but that doesn’t necessarily protect toddlers.
The best tip of all is to use common sense, and that means constant parental supervision. Enjoy what Denver’s playgrounds have to offer, and make it a safe and happy summer!