What is one of the best parts of the day? Recess! It's when everyone gets to take a break from their schoolwork, get away from their desks, and head outside for a while. The playground can be a great place to let your imagination run wild and burn off some energy pretending the ground is lava, having swinging contests, playing tag, or however you have fun. However, if we aren't aware of safety rules, the playground can be a dangerous place. Just by keeping some of these easy safety tips in mind, we can make sure that time on the playground stays fun for everyone.
Probably the most important safety tip to remember is to be aware. It can be easy to forget to pay attention when you are running around and having a good time, but that is when accidents are most likely to happen. But by paying attention to safety, you can keep yourself and others from getting hurt.
One of the most important things to be aware of is the Use Zone. This means the area under and around a piece of playground equipment, where the person using it should be given space. This keeps everyone from accidentally running into, landing on, or hitting each other. This is where it becomes important to take turns so that too many people aren't using the same equipment at the same time. If everyone respects the Use Zones, the playground will be a much safer place!
It is also very important to be careful about the playground equipment itself. Some areas of the playground might have sharp edges that you can run into. Most of the time, that means that it is broken and an adult should be told about it right away. There are also places where you or someone else could get squished or pinched. If the sun hits the metal or plastic for too long, it can get very hot and cause burns when touched. There can also be pieces of the equipment where things can get stuck, such as someone's hair that is in a long braid, the string from a sweatshirt or jacket's hood, or even someone's whole head! This is also another reason to make sure that your shoelaces are tied. You should also watch the ground where you are running to keep from tripping over low bars, poles, walls, or other kids.
- Public Playground Safety Handbook (PDF)
- School Playground Safety Guidelines (PDF)
- Playground Safety Tips (PDF)
- Playing It Safe
- Tips for Public Playground Safety (PDF)
Most injuries on playgrounds happen when someone falls. Whether you fall from the top of the slide or just while running around, hitting the ground can be quite painful. Falls can happen when there is a slip or trip or someone loses their grip. Pushing or other roughhousing can also lead to some nasty falls.
That is why we all have to make sure to remember to stay safe while we are climbing. There are plenty of things to climb on on the playground, such as ladders, rock walls, cargo nets, monkey bars, and more. Be careful and aware while climbing to prevent falls and other accidents, like getting trapped in a cargo net. And going down is just as important as going up: When you're jumping, have your knees bent and land on both feet.
The swing is where those Use Zones come in handy the most. The Use Zone is very large on the swing, covering the entire area in front of and behind it when it is in motion. Everyone should give swings that are in use plenty of room so that no one gets hit.
When using a swing, make sure to sit on it properly, with both hands tightly holding onto the chains. Don't get off of the swing until it has come to a complete stop.
Slides can be great if used correctly. When going up, make sure to take the ladder or stairs one step at a time and hold onto the handrail. Don't climb up the slide itself, as someone else might be coming down. Once at the top, always check the bottom to make sure that it is clear. Go down feet first, never head first, and only one person at a time. At the bottom, move out of the Use Zone right away so that it is clear for the next person to come down.
If we follow these easy steps, everyone will get a turn. If we remember our Use Zones, pay attention, and be respectful, together, we can keep our playgrounds a fun and safe place for everyone!
Find more about the author: Kim Hart