Safe Playgrounds for Kids

Back in the day, I did a couple of stints as a parent at a cooperative preschool. It was a great experience but, as in most aspects of life, some of the jobs were tougher than others. Take the annual mulching of the playground, for instance. The recipe: Take one truckload of mulch dumped in the school driveway, a couple of wheelbarrows, several shovels, mix in what was invariably a hot, humid Saturday in late August, add whichever parents you’ve managed to corral for the job – and start spreading. We weren’t enriching our kids’ intellectual or social lives – just trying to prevent yet another trip to the emergency room.

In fact, according to the Public Playground Safety Handbook, in recent years children have made more than 200,000 trips annually to the emergency room due to injuries on public playgrounds, defined as those in apartments and condominiums, restaurants, parks, child care facilities, other areas of public use, and schools, like Valley Drive Cooperative Preschool, my (by parental extension) alma mater. I’m sure that a lot of those injuries are due to falls, so proper playground surfacing is important. When I was a kid, playgrounds were floored with sand or dirt, or at least that’s the way I remember it. According to the Handbook, produced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, mulch is a good surfacing material, as is sand, but not dirt. This very useful book also deals with playground siting, shading (would I think about how the shade fell if I were planning a playground? probably not – I can’t even manage that at a cookout.), equipment selection and installation, hazards, and much more.

I liked reading this book because it’s detailed but clear, matter-of-fact about hazards, not preachy about regulations, and designed to help even very small entities, like preschools, design and maintain playgrounds to keep children safe. Are there any guarantees? Dream on! As a child, one of my sisters-in-law stuck her head through a porch railing and couldn’t get it out until assisted by the local mail carrier. This escapade so enthralled the neighborhood children that she felt compelled to show them how it happened – and got stuck again. The Handbook is up against the limitless ability of kids to get themselves in fixes but, given the nature of the challenge, I doubt if it could be met much better than by this book. You can read  the Handbook here, get your own copy here, or find it in a library. And keep your head away from that railing!

14 Responses to Safe Playgrounds for Kids

  1. John Borden says:

    We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our entire community will be grateful to you.

    Like

  2. Hab Ewnetu says:

    This book will definitely help a lot. My kids sometimes need keeping in check and I wondered If I’m the only one facing this hassle but at least now I know through your website that I’m not. Most parents will like to lay their hand on this handbook then. Thanks for the post.

    Like

  3. Jason says:

    The book is a great idea, though kids are so completely unpredictable, they always manage to do something somebody has never seen or heard about before, but, this would be a great book for new parents of babysitters to read.

    Like

  4. Jenniza I. Estillore says:

    Nice post! I am still single but lately found myself longing to see a child playing at our backyard. This thought keeps me excited and trilled. Last month my boyfriend and I celebrated our 5th year anniversary, hopefully the next celebration will be at the altar with the priest. Got so excited and can’t help thinking about our future child playing at the playground. This for recommending this book, I might buy one.

    Like

  5. Heather Taft says:

    What an interesting post here. It trigger me to buy a handbook to learn more safety rules and regulation. Especially for planning to have a family, handbooks for safety are the solution.

    Like

  6. royston moss says:

    Safety is very often over looked now and people being able to read a book to open there eyes on the subject is a very useful thing and think it will become very popular very quick. Everyone takes things for granted so with a handbook i think its a great idea.

    Like

  7. Jose Mendez says:

    Por casualidad, hoy estoy dedicado al desarrollo de un proyecto de Tesis que se refiere al tema de los niños y veo la importancia que tiene la atención y el cuidado de los niños una tarea compartida de los Padres, docentes y establecimientos de educación

    Like

  8. Pete says:

    I think a handbook is a fantastic idea to educate parents and others on the safety required for children you have hit the nail on the head with this welldone. great post.

    Like

  9. Reid Adams says:

    Thanks for suggesting this book. We want our children to play and have fun, and we want them to do it safely. Careful thought and planning should be part of any playground construction, and having a guide like this is important.

    Like

  10. zannias vasilis says:

    ACTUALLY THIS ARTICLE IS VERY INTERESTING!ESPACIALLY FOR THE FUTURE!IF SOMEONE WANTS TO MAKE FAMILY , HE WILL NEED SOMETHING LIKE A “SAFETY HANDBOOK”!I AM SINGLE , BUT I AM PLANNING TO MAKE MY FAMILY…VERY SOON!SO , IN THE FUTURE I WILL NEED A “HANDBOOK”!AGAIN , THIS IS EXCELLENT!CONGRATULATIONS!

    Like

  11. Kristina says:

    Thanks for another great posting!

    Like

    • Jose Mendez says:

      Este libro trata de los niños y todos los esfuerzos que significa la construcción de unos espacios físicos adecuados para garantizar su seguridad, que sean verdaderos centros de entretenimiento y evitar caídas, lesiones, golpes y que por ello tengan que ser internados en el Hospital. Un número de 200000 niños hospitalizados por esos motivos es preocupante.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: