Jun 15, 2015

Dr. Gellner: Nothing is more exciting to a kid than a great playground. But play areas need to be properly designed, maintained, and supervised to be safe for kids. We're talking playground safety tips. I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering the Healthy Kids Zone with Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

Dr. Gellner: Any time is playground time when the weather is nice, but summertime is prime playground time. How do keep your child safe while they're having fun? First, actively supervise your children on playgrounds. It won't be hard, because they'll probably be calling you to watch them climb, jump, swing, do all sorts of tricks. Check playgrounds where your children play. You should look for hazards such as rusted or broken equipment and dangerous surfaces. If you find any, report any hazards to the school that the playground is at or the appropriate local office. Dress your children appropriately for the playground. Remove necklaces, scarves, any clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on the equipment and pose a strangulation hazard, anything like that.

You should also teach your child that pushing, shoving or crowding while on the playground can be dangerous. Next, choose the right play area based on your child's age. Not all play areas are safe for each age. Ensure that your child uses age-appropriate playground equipment and that there are separate play areas for children under five who aren't going to be able to play with the big kids just yet. For babies who are learning to walk, the play area should have a smooth and easy surface for them to walk on. If your baby has fairly good head control and can sit up without support, usually around nine months old, let them try the baby or bucket-shaped swings. Avoid playgrounds with non-impact absorbing surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, grass or gravel. Many playgrounds now use pieces of recycled tires or wood chips instead.

Finally, it's important that your children learn how to socialize and play nicely with others. Many playground accidents are the result of improper play. Teach your children these rules.

Wait your turn and share with other kids.

Sit down on the swings and slides.

Slide down feet first and only go down on the slides.

Don't try to go back up as another child may be trying to come down.

Stay where a caregiver can see you at all times.

Walk on hard surfaces like concrete, don't run.

And don't throw wood chips, dirt, rocks or other ground covering at other children.

Bullying is never okay. If you see it, get help from a trusted adult." Remember, playgrounds are places of fun, but also places of frequent injuries. By following these rules, a safe time can be had by all.

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