According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200,000 children go to emergency rooms each year in the United States due to injuries associated with the child’s playground equipment. Most of the injuries are due to falling and can result in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or other broken bones.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has provided the following Safety Checklist for parents to use to help make sure their children are safe.
1. Make sure surfaces around playground equipment have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel, or are mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
2. Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar.
3. Make sure play structures more than 30 inches high are spaced at least 9 feet apart.
4. Check for dangerous hardware, like open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends.
5. Make sure spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
6. Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
7. Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
8. Make sure elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.
9. Check playgrounds regularly to see that equipment and surfacing are in good condition.
10. Carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they’re safe.
If you see any of these issues at a local park or your child’s school, these conditions should be reported to the appropriate authority so the hazardous condition may be corrected.
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