Stuart Bienenstock Issues Warning To Parents
Playground trips with children aren’t merely parents’ or guardians’ duties, they also play a significant role in strengthening the parent-child bond.” says Stuart Bienenstock of Stuart Bienenstock Playground Design. Did you know that every year around 200,000 children end up with serious enough playground injuries to land them in the hospital? Most importantly, these playground hazards or dangers aren’t as obvious as you might think. From inadequate supervision to predators lurking around the playground to faulty equipment, a seemingly child-safe play area can quickly become the scene of an unfortunate accident in seconds.
Therefore, to help keep your child safe on the playground this summer season, keep an out for all of the following unseen and easily ignored playground hazards:
1. Child Predators
“Another form of hidden danger in the playground is child predators.” according to Stuart Bienenstock. Playgrounds comprising an open to all environment usually have no proper security check. This makes them a free space for child molesters or abductors to lurk around waiting for an opportunity to kidnap or harm a child physically. For example, recently, there was a case in which a child molester allegedly followed a kid to the bathroom and watched him from over the bathroom stall. Therefore, stay alert for any unfamiliar or suspicious person and report them to the authorities when spotted.
2. Uncovered Screws
While you might be nervously eyeing the height of those towering monkey bars, the most dangerous threat to your kid is much smaller. In simpler words, the tiny left-without-a-cover screws that, though intended to keep the equipment together, might end up hurting your child before you even notice. Surprisingly, the exposed screws cannot only result in temporary cuts and scrapes, but in case your child’s clothing gets tangled onto these protrusions, it can increase the chances of strangulation and other serious accidents. Therefore, remember to keep an eye out for uncovered screws (usually found near the joints of the equipment) and make sure that your child’s clothes don’t have any drawstrings or aren’t too loose.
2. Rusted Equipment and Slides
“Though the overall structure of the playground may seem fine, time can take its toll when it comes to wood and metal surfaces,” warns Stuart Bienenstock. This is primarily because these surfaces aren’t properly maintained or coated, and rust being the result of it all can end up weakening the equipment as well as cause sharp edges to appear, putting your child at risk of injury. Therefore, the best way to protect your child is by keenly inspecting the delicate areas such as small joints and chains, of every piece of equipment before letting your child hop on.
3. Falls from a Height
Most serious playground injuries occur when a child tries to jump down from a high step or ends up falling after trying to cross an 8ft-high hanging bar. Ideally, playground surfaces should be soft enough to cushion your child’s fall. However, in reality, rough, hard surfaces can lead them to become seriously wounded. Therefore, if your child is a toddler, take them on rides no taller than 6 feet and supervise throughout the play session.
4. Bigger Kids Vs. Smaller Kids
When younger children use the same playground equipment as the older ones, it becomes necessary to stay close. There have been situations where older kids tend to run fast through the playground area and bump into slower ones, and the older kids push the younger ones down the slide simply for the sake of having fun. This is precisely why it has been recommended that there should be separate areas in playgrounds for 2-5-year-olds and 6-12-year-olds. The best role you can play in all of this is steering your child away as soon as you see older kids on any equipment.
5. Mulch Grounds
When a child falls while playing, the first thing that they come directly in contact with is its surface. This means that if the ground surface contains sharp objects such as mulch, wood, or pieces of glass, they can cause puncture wounds or splinters. Therefore, the next time you take your child to the playground, carefully inspect the premises for broken glass, screws, or small objects, before allowing him/her to play. Also, opt for playgrounds with soft rubber-like or sponge-base surfaces that can help brace your child’s fall.
Lightning is a killer that can strike any time. So if an unexpected storm rolls in while your kids are playing, seek shelter with them as soon as possible. Moreover, always have a look at the weather forecast before heading out for the playground.
With hundreds of children playing at once, playgrounds are known to be the breeding ground for germs. From toddlers drooling over the equipment, dust, dirt, and the outdoor chemicals over the equipment to sick kids running around pushing one and another just because their parents didn’t want to take them to school. Therefore, when going out to the playground, remember to take a sanitizer with you and keep your child at home if they are sick.
If not supervised, swings can be one of the most dangerous playground equipment. Your child might think that it’s fun to see how high they can go; however, the greater the height, the more are their chances of getting injured from falling off or jumping. Therefore, when on a swing, supervise your child and ensure that their swing strap is intact as it restrains them from falling out.
Whether you were told to be cautious of metal slides or learned it the hard way when your child ended up burning the back of their legs, staying wary of metal surfaces is one of the basic rules when it comes to playground activities. That said, did you know that one-third of playground burns are actually caused by pieces of equipment made of rubber, plastic, or other non-metallic surfaces? Therefore, please keep checking how hot playground equipment is to the touch before allowing your child to give it a try.
Playground Safety Should Be Your First Priority!
Whether it’s a burn from an overheated slide or a broken leg from falling from a swing, no one wants their fun day out to turn into an ambulance trip to the emergency room. “So the next time you go to a private or public playground, stay extra vigilant of underlying playground hazards.” according to Stuart Bienenstock. Also, teach and train your child to protect themselves against playground dangers so that they can enjoy playing outside without the fear of getting hurt.