What makes a play area safe or unsafe depends in part on the age of the children playing. Certain things are always hazardous, however, and there are things parents and other care givers can look for at home, on playgrounds, and in other homes and outdoor play areas.
Baby-proofing for infants and toddlers means covering electrical sockets and sharp edges, removing small pieces that could cause choking, and putting away anything that could cause injuries. Other hazardous conditions are created by trash or debris, breakables, slippery surfaces, stairs and toxic materials.
Some hazards, such as trash or broken items, are found both indoors and outdoors. Other hazards to look for outdoors are lawn tools, tree roots or other uneven surfaces, rocks, barbecue grills and equipment, rough wood and broken glass.
Playgrounds have inherent hazards that parents and caregivers need to check out. Cushioning materials should be at least 12 inches deep and extend at least six feet out from the equipment in all directions. High and steep areas should have guardrails, and wood should be smooth and free of protruding nails and screws.
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