The backyard offers a world of fun for children. Playgrounds offer even more chances for adventure. But the fun can end abruptly when someone gets hurt. That’s one reason the American Academy of Pediatrics reminds parents to supervise children’s outdoor play, even at home.
To protect your kids from injuries, keep these backyard and playground safetytips in mind.
In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our June 2012 issue, we asked WebMD's child care expert, Roy Benaroch, MD, if parents should still keep ipecac in case their child swallows a poison.
Q: I was always told to keep ipecac in the medicine cabinet. Now I hear I shouldn't. What changed?
A: For decades, parents were advised to keep a bottle of ipecac on hand, just in case a child ingested something poisonous...
The key to playground safety is supervision.Unsupervised play is associated with 40 percent of playground injuries, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign. Keep an eye on your kids and put a stop to any pushing or roughhousing on playground equipment.
Here are some additional guidelines for playground safety:
Choose sturdy age-appropriate play sets, not swings and climbers that your child will “grow into.”
Install play equipment on level ground and make sure it cannot tip over.
Place equipment at least 6 feet away from walls, fences, trees, and other obstacles to allow for safe “landings.”
Use soft protective surfacing, such as wood chips, mulch, or rubber matting, under all equipment. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a 9-inch deep layer of protection that extends six feet beyond the equipment.
Check the equipment quarterly for wear, and repair loose, jagged or splintering parts. Also, make sure that all screws and bolts are tight — they can loosen over time.
Never attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, or pet leashes to playground equipment. Children can strangle on them.
During summer, check play surfaces to make sure they are not so hot that they could cause burns.
Periodically check for equipment recalls with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. You can find their web site at http://www.cpsc.gov, or call 1-800-638-2772.