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Playground Safety Starts at Home

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Between 1990 and 2000, at least 90 children under 15 died on home playground equipment – that’s 70 percent of known playground-related deaths, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“As parents, we pay a lot of attention to the safety of our children in public playgrounds, but we need to be more vigilant at home,” said Lynn Cimpello, M.D., assistant professor at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong and co-director of the local Injury Free Coalition for Kids. “Many parents don’t realize that dirt and grass are not safe surfaces under playground equipment.”

With warmer weather and National Playground Safety Week (April 24 to 28), Injury Free Coalition for Kids is promoting safety tips for home playgrounds.

  • Supervise children at all times
  • Remove necklaces and drawstrings from your child’s clothing
  • Always have your child use bicycle helmet while riding a bike, but remove it before playing on playground equipment
  • Inspect playground for hazards such as sharp objects, broken equipment and rocks
  • Make sure equipment is age-appropriate
  • Check equipment temperature, especially in direct sunlight
  • Elevated surfaces must have guardrails
  • All spaces on equipment must be less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches to avoid a child’s head getting stuck
  • Check for sharp edges or points that could cut your child
  • Make sure equipment has appropriate surface under it – not dirt and grass

 “The last thing we want is to see in our emergency department are children who should be outside playing in this beautiful weather; so please go outside and play, but play safe,” Cimpello said.

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