Whether it is at the local park or at home, a children's play area can create hazards for the little ones using the equipment if precautions aren't taken to prevent injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year for playground-related injuries.
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Strings and Ropes
Strings and ropes might pose a hazard in a children's play area and cause accidental strangulation. The American Academy of Pediatric recommends avoiding attaching ropes, clotheslines or pet leashes to equipment in the play area. Strings attached to your child's clothes or on play equipment might cause choking. From 1999 to 2000, 82 children died from play area-related strangulation, according to the CDC.
Falls to Surface
Almost 70 per cent of children's play area injuries are related to falls to the surface, reports the National Program for Playground Safety. Concrete, asphalt, grass, blacktop or packed-dirt surfaces underneath a play area create a hazard should children fall off the equipment. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends putting an energy-absorbent surface under the play area such as shredded rubber, sand or wood chips.
Lack of Supervision
The younger the child, the more supervision she will need when playing in a children's play area. Toddlers or preschoolers climbing on play equipment that is too big without adequate supervision creates a potentially serious or deadly hazard if she should fall, hit her head or get tangled in a rope. According to the National Program for Playground Safety, preschool children develop differently than elementary-age children and require specially designed equipment in a separate location.
Whether you are at a public or home play area, it is important to inspect the equipment children will play on for possible hazards related to poor maintenance or upkeep. Make sure all of the play area equipment is assembled correctly and solidly anchored to the ground. Examine all screws and bolts for broken, rusty or sharp parts and loose nuts. Check for hot metal surfaces on slides that could cause burns, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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