by BreeAnn Silcox, coalition coordinator, Safe Kids Bear River
Each year, more than 270,000 kids are treated in emergency rooms for injuries that occur on the playground. While most injuries at playgrounds are due to falls (75 percent), most fatalities are caused by strangulation.
Even nonfatal injuries from playground falls can be serious. Almost half of playground-related injuries are severe, including fractures, internal injuries, concussions and dislocations.
Lack of or improper supervision is associated with approximately 45 percent of playground-related injuries. Playgrounds are a great way for kids to get exercise and explore. With active supervision and basic safety tips, the playground can be a walk in the park every day.
Safe Kids Bear River reminds parents and caregivers of the following four playground safety tips:
- Actively supervise children on playgrounds. It won’t be hard — they will probably call for you to watch them climb, jump and swing.
- Take your kids to playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces such as rubber, synthetic turf, sand, pea gravel, wood chips and mulch. If your child falls, the landing will be more cushioned than asphalt, concrete, grass or dirt.
- Dress appropriately for the playground. Remove necklaces, purses, scarves or clothing with drawstrings that can get caught on equipment and pose a strangulation hazard. Even helmets can be dangerous, so save those for bikes.
- Teach children that pushing, shoving or crowding can be dangerous. Encourage older kids to look out for younger ones. Little kids play differently than big kids. It is important to have a separate play area for children under 5 years old.
For more information about playground safety, call (435) 792-6510 or visit www.safekids.org.