How to Keep Your Children Safe on the School Playground

How to Keep Your Children Safe on the School Playground

Most parents expect their kids to be 100% safe in school. While this may be a logical presumption, it’s not always true. School-related accidents account for 20 to 30% of injuries experienced by school-aged children. If you don’t find this alarming, consider that childhood injuries are one of the most crucial causes of morbidity and mortality among kids. 

According to the doctrine of in loco parentis,’ teachers and the school could be held liable for negligence if the students suffer injuries within the school premises. However, this isn’t absolute. The aggrieved party must prove that the injury-causing condition was foreseeable. For example, if the school knows that the playground has faulty equipment and didn’t do anything to rectify it, it could be held liable if a student gets injured while using the playground.

If you’re the parent, it would be better to avoid the injury in the first place instead of holding someone responsible thereafter. Consider the following tips to help you perform this duty and effectively keep your kids safe from playground accidents. 

Make Sure the School Playground is Safe

Developing their intellectual quotient (IQ) is not the only reason children go to school. Apart from this, they also need to develop their emotional quotient (EQ). This is precisely why they need to mingle and play with their classmates and other kids their age. The best place to do this is at the school’s outdoor play area. Outdoor play equipment offers kids opportunities to have fun and make friends. 

However, the problem is that the playground isn’t safe at all times. If you’re a parent who only wants what’s safe for your kids, here are some things to consider. 

  • Age-appropriate play areas: Kids below the age of five need a designated play space since they are less resilient and active than the older ones. You’ll know that a playground is safe if it has separate play areas for young kids. These playgrounds should also have signages to quickly locate specific areas.
  • Safe surfaces: You’ll know that a playground is safe if it has impact-absorbing surfaces that will make jumping, running and walking more effortless for kids. Go for surfaces made of mulch, wood chips, shredded rubber and sand. Dirt and grass may seem like impact-absorbing materials, but they can be considered dangerous surfaces like concrete or asphalt. Moreover, ensure that there are no hazards, such as rocks or tree branches. 
  • Stable equipment: An insecurely fastened or loose equipment is chaos waiting to happen. Barriers and handrails should be available and well-secured. It’s natural for kids to be messy as they play, so there should be no hazardous equipment and materials. 
  • Well-maintained swings: It can also be said that a playground is safe for children if its swings are neither made from metal nor wood. It’s safer to use bucket-style swings, as they provide better body support and head control. 
  • Safely distanced equipment: If the playground has seesaws, swings and other moving parts, ensure that they are far from each other. 
  • No fall or entrapment risks:  Rail, bar or net openings can be a fall or an entrapment risk. They should be more than 9 inches. 

If there’s a person who knows your child best, that’s you. Make sure that they can independently manage the equipment. However, it would be best if you supervised them as well. Before you allow them to use the playground, you should briefly walk through the area to ensure that there are no other dangers, such as syringes or broken glass.

However, if, despite being careful, you still find your child entangled in a playground accident, you can always seek legal representation from the expert lawyers at Diamond & Diamond

Choose Age-Appropriate Playground Equipment

One of the most common reasons kids get into playground accidents is that they’re playing with pieces of equipment that are not safe or fit for their development level and size. Generally, kids can get hurt when they play with equipment meant for kids heavier, shorter or taller than them. 

A safe playground for toddlers is a space with rubber mats where they won’t get hurt even if they trip and fall. Moreover, you can prevent injuries by looking for labels indicating the recommended age for the user of the play equipment. 

Some playgrounds come with dedicated play areas for kids between two and four and older. They can access these areas within and after school hours. However, this also means that they might not be under adult supervision when using the equipment at these playgrounds.

Toddlers should be playing in playgrounds designed for them. If you let them play with equipment designed for older kids, you’re making them vulnerable to tripping and falling. The straps and rails may not be safe and stable enough to handle lighter and smaller kids. 

Teach Your Child Safe Play Tactics

Kids will always be kids. However, this doesn’t mean that you should leave them alone in the playground. Your kids need supervision to keep them from school playground injuries. First, your kids must wear clothes appropriate for playing. Next, you should also ensure that they don’t injure other children while they’re at the playground.

As a parent, you must talk to your kids about manners when dealing with their playmates. It would be best if you taught them that it’s dangerous to push, hit or shove other kids on any play structure. 

Apart from what we’ve already mentioned, it’s also best to encourage your kids to be mindful when they walk around the swings. Teaching kids to wait patiently for their turn to use playground equipment can reduce the possibility of playground commotion. You can also teach them these values at an early age, so they observe them as a habit.

Here are other valuable tips to help keep your kids (and their playmates) from playground accidents. 

  • Never Roughhouse or Push Anyone 

Remind your kids never to act violently while playing on the swings, seesaws, slides or jungle gyms. If they push each other while on these play equipment, they can injure themselves. 

  • Use Play Equipment Properly

You also need to train your kids to properly use the playground equipment. Simple reminders, such as never to stand on the swing, keep him or herself within the surface that has the synthetic turf, or not climb outside the guardrails or always slide with their feet first, will make a lot of difference. As you remind them of these rules, make sure they follow them. 

  • Be On The Lookout for Other Kids.

It’s also crucial that you remind your kids to always ensure that there are no other kids in the way when they’re sliding or jumping off a piece of equipment. Remind them to land on both feet while keeping their knees slightly bent when they jump. 

  • Clear the Play Area from Obstructions 

Teach your kids to always leave bags, backpacks or bikes away from the playground so that other kids don’t trip over them and injure themselves.

Pro Tip

The simplest and most important way to keep your kids safe at the playground is to keep your eyes on them at all times.

Choose Proper Clothing for Your Kids

The playground can be muddy, dirty or dusty. This is precisely why they need to wear comfortable and safe clothes. Avoid loose-fit clothing, as they can get snagged or caught on posts and rails. Keep them from wearing any neck accessories, such as necklaces, as they could heighten the risk of strangulation. If your kid is wearing a helmet, scarf or necklace, remove them before you allow them to play in the playground. 

Another thing to consider is the type of shoes to wear. Let them wear closed-toe, athletic shoes with tightly tied shoelaces. You can also choose shoes with elastic laces as an alternative. Keep them from wearing sandals or flip-flops in the playground, as they can’t protect your kids from foot injuries.

Adult Supervision Is Most Important

The safest and most important way to keep your kids safe within the playground is to keep your eyes on them. Pre-schoolers and toddlers need more supervision, so be within reach as they play with all of the equipment. This way, you’ll be nearby if they fall or get injured. 

Moreover, you can also check faulty equipment, the type of safety surface and whether the playground is using age-appropriate products. If you stay close to them, you can keep them from wandering around and getting lost. This can also keep bullies and child predators from trying to harm your child. 

Your kids who are slightly older might not want you to stay close to them. This is normal, but you can still watch over them from a respectable distance. Make sure that you’re still close enough to respond to them when they’re in a dangerous situation. When your kids are older, it doesn’t mean that you no longer need to check the variety of equipment in the playground. Adult supervision often ensures that kids aren’t injured by faulty equipment at a playground.

Has Your Child Been Injured Due to Negligence? Contact Diamond Law Today.

The safety tips shared above can save your kids from accidents and other untoward incidents that might happen in the playground. This advice may mean more effort and vigilance from you and other parents. Remember that you have an important role in keeping the areas your kids frequently visit as child-safe. 

Since they still can’t foresee danger like adults, they need you within a safe distance to ensure that they will be free from accidents. They also need you to ensure that the playground has safe surfaces and secure equipment. After all, it’s better to spend time and effort checking for a hazardous situation at a playground than to see your child get injured.

However, if, despite your diligent efforts, you still find your child suffering from a playground accident, the best thing to do would be to get a personal injury lawyer from Diamond & Diamond. The firm’s litigators have extensive experience handling these kinds of cases, so you know that you’ll be in excellent and capable hands. 

Call Diamond & Diamond for a free consultation at 1-800-567-HURT today if you need immediate legal advice on any playground accident injury. 

Despite all the precautions you take as a parent, accidents can still happen to your children. Contact Diamond Law for more information.

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