The Playground Safety Guide: Keeping Children Safe at Play

Children are adapted to be able to cope with physical play. A good playground should be designed to encourage this – but it should also be safe enough to limit the possibility of anyone getting seriously hurt. Bumps, scrapes and bruises are an unavoidable part of a healthy lifestyle for children. But more serious dangers should be anticipated. Let’s take a look at how that might be done.

Playground Design and Equipment

Perhaps the most important principle in any playground is that children should play only with equipment that’s been designed for their particular age range. When older children are allowed to play alongside younger ones, there’s a chance of the latter getting knocked over. When younger children play with equipment that is too big for them, there’s a good chance of an injury. This applies especially to climbing frames, which pose the risk of falls.

Playground equipment should be regularly inspected by parents and caregivers. If a set of swings looks as though it’s about to fall to pieces, then it might be best to avoid playing with it. Personal injury claims can often be pursued when the equipment isn’t up to the job.

Ideally, playground spaces should be set up with visibility in mind. Wherever you’re seated, you should be able to see the entire play area. This will help to ensure that any problems are quickly spotted.

Supervision and Adult Responsibility

Children should be given a little bit of freedom to take risks in a controlled environment. This way, they’ll get the experience and confidence they need to be safer in the long term. But adult supervision plays a crucial role in creating this controlled environment.

Supervisors should intervene when there’s a predictable danger being posed to children. If one child is using the apparatus in a way that creates a risk to other children, they should be stopped. Standing on a see-saw, or overcrowding a climbing frame, might qualify here.

Ultimately, a balance has to be struck between fun and safety. How this is done will depend on the parent, guardian or caregiver who’s on supervision duty.

Inclusive Play

Children vary tremendously in terms of abilities. Providing inclusive playgrounds, which not only allow access for children with disabilities, but actually provide an experience that’s of the same quality for everyone. Ideally, no child at play in an environment like this should feel that they can’t play in the same way as everyone else.

Emergency Preparedness

One critical aspect of playground safety is how emergencies are anticipated and dealt with. This means being vigilant at all times, but it also means having access to first aid. Where severe injuries take place, the first priority should be to make the environment safe, and then to get medical attention onto everyone affected.


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