Kids need a few hours of active play every day, and as the winter comes to an end and the weather heats up, what better way to stay active than by going to a playground? But it’s important to remember that playgrounds aren’t always fun and games. They’re actually a significant cause of injuries that require many kids to get admitted to our hospital.
In fact, each year, more than 200,000 kids are treated at an emergency room for playground-related injuries. However, most playground injuries can be prevented with adult supervision.
Tips to keep kids safe while they play
Before you visit a playground, check to make sure that play areas are designed to allow an adult to clearly see kids while they’re playing on all the equipment. Keep your eyes on young kids (and sometimes older ones) because they can’t always be sure of distance and may not expect dangerous situations. Older kids like to test their limits on the playground, so it’s important for an adult to keep them in check.
Check the equipment
You can make the playground entertaining and safe for your kids by checking equipment for possible hazards such as slippery, hot metals or plastics, broken or worn-down equipment. The ground underneath the equipment should be designed to reduce injuries from falls. Often you’ll find wood chips, sand, or rubber underneath “landing zones” by equipment where kids exit, jump off, or climb. Loose fill should be thick in those areas.
Make sure kids are dressed for the day. In addition to dressing kids for the weather to ensure they will not be too hot or too cold, it’s important to make sure that their clothes fit well.
Kids should wear clothes that are not too loose and do not have strings or ties that can easily get caught on equipment. Hooded sweatshirts and other dangling clothing can get unexpectedly caught in the bars and spaces between equipment. If your child has a hard time keeping their shoes tied or can’t tie their shoes on their own yet, you may want to try Velcro or slip-on sneakers.
Teach kids the playground rules
Kids should know to:
- Never push or roughhouse while on jungle gyms, slides, seesaws or swings.
- Use equipment properly: slide feet-first, don’t climb outside guardrails, no standing on swings, etc.
- Always check to make sure no other kids are in the way if they’re going to jump off equipment or slide, and land on both feet with their knees slightly bent.
- Leave bikes, backpacks and bags away from the play area so that no one trips over them.
Watch this video for more tips
Emergency and trauma care at Children’s Minnesota
At Children’s Minnesota, we love seeing kids. But we would much rather see them playing their hardest at home or on the playground. But we know that accidents can and do happen, so we’re always ready to take care of kids, no matter what happens.
Between our two emergency rooms in Minneapolis and St. Paul, we care for more than 90,000 patients a year. But more than taking the best care of children during emergency visits or after trauma, our program is backed by out comprehensive network of pediatric clinics and specialties. Meaning when kids leave our emergency room, we can continue to offer them the best rehabilitation and medical services to make sure they get and stay healthy.
Level I Pediatric Trauma Center
Children’s Minnesota hospital Minneapolis is home to a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, the highest level offered by the American College of Surgeon’s (ACS) Committee on Trauma. Since 2013, we have been the region’s only Level I Trauma Center dedicated exclusively to kids.