Spring break is upon us and many parents will be heading out and about trying to find cost-effective and fun things to do with the kids. One thing that is probably on the list is an easy sell, and completely free-the jungle gym.
“According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency departments in the U.S. treat more than 200,000 children for playground-related injuries every year,” Aynsley Birkner, the Pediatric Injury Prevention Coordinator and Safe Kids Charleston Area Coordinator at Medical University of South Carolina, said in an interview with Romper. “Injuries resulting from falls are the most common and climbing equipment, such as monkey bars, accounts for the majority of injuries that occur on public playgrounds.”
What is the most common injury that is seen by medical professionals? Fractures from falling off the jungle gym.
When it comes to taking the kids to the park this spring or at anytime during the year to let them blow off steam on the jungle gym, other than the obvious with the surge of the Coronavirus, here are five things that medical professionals want you to know before letting your kids loose.
1. Check the playground surface: Avoid playgrounds that don’t have some sort of soft, shock-absorbing materials underneath. Grass, gravel, dirt, concrete are beacons for injury.
Dr. William Melvin Brown, III, a board-certified emergency medicine physician in Charleston, South Carolina, agrees with Birkner and said in the same interview, “There is not a week that goes by that I don’t see a playground injury. A lot of the main issues are the surfaces kids are falling onto.”
2. Inspect for hazards: Look for things that could cause a problem such as broken equipment, or hazards on the ground. If you spot something, report it immediately.
3. Dress for play: Make sure that children are dressed to play. Ensure that they don’t have anything that could get caught and cause strangulation.
4. Supervise ≠ Scrolling: Put down the phone and make sure that you are watching your kids and not the latest trending video. Keep an eye on play because things can go wrong in the blink of an eye.
5. Teach proper safety Teach safety and make sure that your kids understand the rules of the jungle gym. If you set proper play expectations, then they will be more inclined to follow the rules and have fun. Teaching proper safety will help you get one step closer to ensuring that you will go home with everyone in one piece.