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Playground Injury Prevention With Tips From the AAOS

While kids will be going back to school at the end of the month, there’s still plenty of time for them to get into all sorts of trouble around the neighborhood.  One area where parents will want to stress safety is at the playground.

Children are remarkably resilient compared to adults, and for the most part, public playgrounds should offer adequate protection from injury.  However, that comes with the caveat that the equipment must be used in the right way.  If for instance children decide to climb across the face of a structure that was not intended for such, they could fall or suffer any number of joint and muscle injuries.

A new report relates some tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons that attempt to reduce the number of injuries which occur on playgrounds.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 600,000 instances of injury befell children last year alone.  They occurred on items ranging from swing sets to monkey bars to teeter totters and more.

Many newly installed slides will have a tunnel type structure that’s supposed to prevent a child from falling off the side.  With that or any other slide, children should be told to go down the slide rather than climb up.  One child should go at a time.  That also means that parents shouldn’t ride with a kid in their lap.

Climbing of all sorts should be frowned upon on any items not designed for such.  A child can climb on the monkey bars (although they shouldn’t stand on them).  He or she can travel up a rope climb.  But they shouldn’t attempt to scale the posts holding swings or larger overarching structures meant to provide shade.  If they were to fall, they could face a concussion, a broken bone, or torn ligaments.

Preventing muscle strain is made easier when a child isn’t wearing loose clothing or jewelry that could snag on a piece of equipment.  If a child falls, the sudden halt to the progress afforded by a snagged piece of clothing could adversely impact their body.

A concussion risk is always going to be a possibility, which is why you’re seeing swing sets and teeter totters becoming increasingly separated from all other playground equipment.  The thought is that kids on things like swings need to be given ample space between kids running around in other parts of the playground.  Kids should stay away from the path of swings or teeter totters.  Soft surfaces like sand, mulch, or rubber are also preferable so that a falling child doesn’t suffer a harsh impact.


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